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What Is That Leak

What Is That Leak

When you see a spot or stain on your driveway or in your regular parking space it can make your stomach turn. It usually means that fluid is leaking from some part of your vehicle, and that there may be a problem. Often you can identify the source of your leak by the color, smell, thickness, and their position under your vehicle.

We have included a handy chart that details the general positioning of most possible leak sources on your Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM, and FIAT. It is important to also check your owner's manual for the exact location of the radiator, engine, transfer case, and other fluid-filled components.

The most important thing to remember is that each leak is unique, some will require immediate attention from a specialist, while others can wait for your regular scheduled maintenance. To be 100% sure, an expert, like the ones in the Service Centre at North York Chrysler, need to take a closer look. However, you can begin the process by detecting and attempting to differentiate a leak by colour, texture, and even smell. Let's take a closer look at some of the more common types of leaks.

Black or Dark Brown Spots

Black and dark brown spots usually indicate a leak from your engine or gears. This is especially true if they correspond with the front or the back of your engine. Leaks from gear oil are thicker, like molasses, and have a slightly foul or sulfuric smell. Gear oil leaks generally come from your front axle or manual transmission.

If you ever find puddles of engine oil under your vehicle, it can mean a major problem and you should absolutely contact your service specialist like those at North York Chrysler. Your engine could suffer major damage if a leak of this nature is left unchecked.

Green, Blue, Orange Spots, or Pinkish Red

If you find green, blue, orange, or pinkish red spots or stains, the odds are good it is probably coolant. To make sure, you can check under the hood at your transparent coolant reservoir to see what your Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM, or Fiat uses as coolant. Each type of coolant leak, be it radiator, reservoir tank, hoses, water pump, heater, transmission, or engine have some unique characteristics.

  • Engine: These coolant leaks are often green in colour. If you spot this kind of leak, wait until the engine is cool and check if the coolant is below the ADD line. If so, top it off and visit your service specialist as soon as it is convenient.
  • Transmission: These will often appear to be pink or reddish brown depending on the age of the fluid and will show up between the area under the front seats (rear-wheel drive) or the front wheels (front-wheel drive). The most common source of transmission fluid leaks is a leaking seal, gasket, or fluid line. Transfer case leaks appear honey brown or reddish.
  • Transfer Case: These leaks can appear honey brown or reddish in color and will have a more oily smell than other leaks.
  • Power Steering: The least common of the fluid leaks; power steering fluid is usually red, pink, or pinkish brown in colour. It is critical for your safety that you get this one checked out ASAP.

Clear or Transparent Leaks 

If you see clear or transparent fluid leaking from your vehicle it is usually related to your braking system. This is especially true if it corresponds with changes in your brake function, like a spongy pedal or warning lights. These leaks will have a bitter smell and must be investigated by a professional immediately. If you do not sense a bitter smell, it also might be transmission or power steering fluid, but either way please schedule an appointment to be sure. 

No matter what the colour, location, or odor of a leak, the Service Centre at North York Chrysler believe you should make an appointment with our friendly, experienced, and knowledgeable team or visit our Mopar Express Lane. We are located a stone's throw from Toronto, at 7200 Yonge Street, just north of Steeles in Thornhill, ON.


Maintenance intervals will vary depending on model year, Engine and type of Use. Contact  Our Service Advisors or Service Team to determine interval requirements.

Categories: Service & Maintenance Tips