Auto Tips & Tricks

My Car is Leaking! What does it Mean?

What is your car leaking and what it might mean

posted August 24th, 2023

Oil leak from vehicle with auto mechanic toolsEver gotten out of your car and noticed what looks like water dripping and had a moment of panic? Did you think “Oh my god, my car is leaking! What does it mean?”

The good news is, normally there is no need to panic. The water dripping from your car is normally just condensation from the air conditioning system or exhaust. This by itself is completely normal and nothing to worry about. But, just in case, Pugh’s Auto Service is going to give you a few things to look out for.


White Smoke

As explained above, water dripping from your exhaust is not something you normally need to worry about when it’s the only symptom. If it is accompanied by a large amount of white smoke, then that is a different story.

When white smoke is present with water dripping from your car’s exhaust, it suggests that coolant could have made its way into the combustion chambers and is throwing off the air/fuel mixture. This could indicate a blown head gasket.


How do I know if it’s just Water?

It’s understandable to be cautious, especially when you notice any sort of drip under your car. So, if you think it is water, but want to be completely sure, the best thing to do is to determine the color of the liquid. 

To determine the color of the liquid, the best thing to do is to lay a large piece of cardboard under the car to catch the drip. Leave it overnight and then pull it out the next morning. This will show if there is any color to the liquid. Fluid that is yellow, green, or orange indicates that you may have a coolant leak.

If there is a large amount of water, more than a few drops, around the exhaust, you could have an exhaust leak. As noted above, this would also come with a large amount of white smoke while the engine is running. 

Other fluids that could be leaking are Brake Fluid and Old Engine Oil (Dark Brown), Newer Oil (Light Brown), Transmission or Power Steering Fluid (Red and/or Pink), or Windshield Washer Fluid (Blue).

Graphic of transmission Fluid colors vs the age of the transmission fluid

Schedule an Appointment

Leaks can be something simple or something important. If you aren’t sure which leak yours is, it is always best to call and schedule an appointment with your trusted Automotive Repair Center. Pugh’s Auto Service has ASE certified technicians that are trained and ready to help you diagnose your leak, repair your vehicle, and get you back on the road quickly and safely. 

If your car is leaking, you can call us at (302)734-4231 or visit our website to schedule an appointment. You can also stop by for a Free 30-Point Inspection at 728 Leipsic Rd, Dover, DE 19901.