Stains on the underside of the car should never be ignored. In any event, this indicates that there is a hole somewhere in the system.
There are some circumstances where this is technically desirable and wholly risk-free. On the other hand, the vast majority of leaks result from a flaw, which can have unfavorable and even potentially serious repercussions.
The following paragraphs will discuss steps to take if you discover stains underneath your vehicle.
What kinds of fluids does the car have?
A wide variety of fluids are contained within a vehicle. Each of them possesses unique qualities and works to accomplish a specific goal in its own unique way.
It is only possible for a small portion of these fluids to escape. The following table is what we get if we put all of the liquid components of a car together:
– Fuels: gasoline or diesel
– Lubricants: engine oil, gear oil, differential oil
- Brake fluid
- Cooling fluid
- Water that has been condensed through the use of air conditioning
- Refrigerant for air conditioning
- Acid from a battery
The first thing to do is determine what caused the stains under the car
The first thing that needs to be done to evaluate the problem is to figure out what kind of fluid it is.
Because of the characteristics that are unique to these materials, identifying them is a lot simpler:
Both gasoline and diesel emit a distinct odor when burned. Diesel is characterized by a texture that is a little bit oily and a hue that is a little bit brown.
The smell of gasoline can be pretty offensive. It is also possible to recognize it by the glow that resembles a rainbow that occurs when gasoline is combined with water, such as when it is found in a puddle.
Lubricants have a brownish-to-black appearance and a “greasy” quality. Finding the source of an oil spill is consequently not very difficult. It is grasped with the index finger and then rubbed onto the thumb.
When this occurs, the lubricating effect is readily apparent. It is highly recommended that you use the disposable gloves found in the first aid kit. However, it would help if you remembered to replace them afterward because the absence of these components is regarded as a controlled defect.
If you want to assist people injured in an accident, you should also have disposable gloves. You won’t catch any infections this way.
The consistency of brake fluid is similar to that of oil, and it has a strong, unpleasant odor. If it is ancient, it has a greenish or light brown color. It is also not too difficult to find, although this does depend on the specific location under the car.
The brake system is most likely the source of the leak if it is located close to a wheel.
Because glycol has been mixed in with the antifreeze, coolant fluid has a smell that is described as having a “sweetish” quality.
Aside from that, it possesses only slight lubricating properties and has the same consistency as water.
Coolants are typically slightly greenish, but they can also be bluish or reddish in some instances. This is dependent on the type of antifreeze that was utilized.
The condensation produced by the air conditioning system is entirely transparent water. This is the only liquid that could peak out of the vehicle.
It is produced as a natural byproduct of the air conditioner’s operation, and it is removed. This is the intended behavior, so there is no need to be concerned about it.
The refrigerant used in air conditioning systems can only exist in liquid form while the system is pressurized.
If there is a leak in the air conditioner, the refrigerant will escape in gaseous form, and there will be no trace of liquid left behind.
Therefore, a malfunctioning air conditioning system cannot be the source of the stains found under the car.
On the other hand, a battery acid leak is an infrequent occurrence. In most cases, the lifespan of the battery casings is significantly longer than the operational and technical readiness of the batteries.
This indicates that a battery has already developed a defect and must be replaced before the casing leaks.
Despite this, the possibility exists in theory for a battery to develop a leak. As an acid, it has the characteristic taste and smell of acids, which draws attention to it.
The next step in the identification process is not difficult: the corrosive acid will have left its marks on the battery case and on its way to the ground.
The bottom plate of the battery tray will, in most instances, be entirely oxidized entirely at the very least.
Determine the leak’s source in step two.
Once you have determined what liquid it is, you can begin looking for where the leak comes from. The following are three potential outcomes:
- Conducting a search using an unclean engine
- Conduct your search using an uncluttered engine
- Look for contrast agents in your inquiry.
Whoever already has some knowledge about automobiles and is familiar with the specific points of vulnerability can examine the dirty engine first.
If you have sufficient experience, you can detect oil and other fluid leaks very quickly. However, after a certain point, things start to get complicated with this.
An older vehicle has a more significant potential to leak fluids in multiple locations. Because of this, there is a large possibility that we will stop one leak but overlook another if the engine is dirty.
Because of this, it is best to give the engine a comprehensive cleaning before beginning the search for the leak.
In this situation, it is highly recommended to proceed professionally and by hand: The most appropriate instruments are a bottle of brake cleaner, a rinsed brush, some rags, and some compressed air.
On the other hand, using a high-pressure cleaner for engine flushing is not recommended.
When using the high-pressure cleaner to flush the engine, moisture can enter the control unit and ignition electronics, leading to malfunctions.
The use of dry ice as a cleaning agent for engines is regarded as an innovative approach. In this instance, the machine is cleaned with liquid and frozen carbon dioxide.
Although this technique is relatively pricey (roughly equivalent to sixty euros), the result is astounding: The engine was taken straight from the production line. This method is undoubtedly the most effective for locating a leak.
Also, remember that it is pretty quick, taking approximately twenty minutes to wash each engine. And produces no residue.
The vehicle is left unattended for approximately twenty minutes. After completing the cleaning process, The source of the problem needs to be located immediately.
The most reliable method for figuring out what caused an oil or coolant leak is to employ contrast agents. This method is not only very clever and helpful, but it also has a startlingly low cost.
You will need the following items to look for leaks using a contrast agent:
– Contrast agent for oil (approximately 7.50$) or coolant (approximately 6$)
– Ultraviolet light (8$ approx.)
– The dark (the night, the parking lot of a subway station, or a garage)
To use the contrast medium, one need only pour it into the oil filler hole or the expansion tank of the cooling system. After that, the driver lets the engine run for a few minutes. After that, ultraviolet light is used to shine some light into the shadowy engine compartment.
The contrast medium that has been leaking becomes very obvious at this point. This locates the problem efficiently and accurately.
If you’re looking for leaks in your car’s cooling and lubricating systems at the same time, it’s not advised to utilize both contrast media at once.
In this order, the identification of leaks is made clearer by using one after the other.
Correctly repairing the damage is the third step
There is only one way to repair a leak in a vehicle, and that is through correct repair. Hoses that are leaking are totally replaced as opposed to being taped up. The leaking brake lines are disassembled and changed.
When a joint between two components breaks, it needs to be disassembled, cleaned, and then properly put back together.
There is no room for tinkering or quick fixes because there is none available. This is something that needs to be emphasized because there are many products on the market that claim to be miracle cures.
This point needs to be made crystal clear:
Putting a plug in a problem is not an acceptable treatment. The benefits of these treatments are only temporary, if they work at all. The majority of the time, they cause more harm than good.
Plugs in the cooling system may obstruct the thermostat or reduce the radiator’s output. In any event, using stop-leak treatments for oils serves a cosmetic purpose only; they cannot repair a damaged gasket.
The fuel supply and any half-hearted brake repairs are also ruled out as possibilities. A leak is inconvenient, but it is what it is: an indication that the vehicle requires extensive maintenance immediately.
Common sense should be used for the fourth step.
Leaks are more likely to occur in older, non-routinely inspected automobiles than in modern ones. There is just one choice in such a situation: Check the car thoroughly.
It is typically advised to also change the brake fluid if the brake system is leaking.
In addition, it is recommended that you inspect the expansion reservoir, the brake discs and cylinders, and the brake linings.
You can take advantage of the chance to install new parts if it’s essential to disassemble a lot of the components.
If the vehicle is so old that the hoses connecting the cooler to the engine are already porous, the hoses will need to be replaced.
As a result, it is recommended to invest 50 dollars and repair the entire cooling system. This way, you can achieve a defined state that ensures your safety for an extended period.