Spotting & Stopping Your Vehicle's Leaks
When you discover the telltale stain of an oil leak on the driveway, it's a sign that something is definitely starting to break down on your car. But what? And what if it's not oil that's leaking? Let's look at a few of the most common leaks and some common methods of addressing them with proper automotive maintenance.
By far the simplest to diagnose and fix are coolant leaks. Your vehicle pumps coolant (or antifreeze) throughout the engine, the coolant heats up, then the radiator absorbs the heat of the fluid and disperses it. Coolant hoses break down over time so look for cracks in the large tubing coming from your radiator, especially where the tubing bends or is held by a clamp. Coolant is usually bright neon green, and it stains green where it pools, making a coolant leak easy to identify. If your leak is from the radiator itself, your problem may be more serious. Hose replacement can be done by almost anyone, but radiator repair should be handled by someone skilled at automotive repair.
Oil leaks are the most common sort, but it can be hard to pinpoint the source. Oil leaks are mostly caused by failing engine seals and gaskets, start by checking around the valve cover gaskets and moving down through the engine compartment to the oil pan. Gaskets are also meant to break down over time and are not difficult to replace. If the oil leak is occurring deep within the engine block, the problem is likely much worse. For small leaks, and only as a stopgap measure, an oil stabilizer, which thickens the oil's viscosity and makes it less likely to drip, may slow or temporarily stop the leak while you diagnose its root cause.
Power Steering and Brake Fluid Leaks
These fluids are much less likely to leak, and if they do, you'll know it. Leaks in these systems are diagnosed more by symptoms than the leak itself - if you feel resistance and grinding when you turn the steering wheel or experience a gradual but noticeable loss of braking power, you've likely got a leak in that system. Check for discoloration and stains instead of an active leak. Repairing these systems is complicated and should be left to a trusted mechanic.
If you've got questions about proceeding with a repair or diagnosing a leak, it helps to turn to a trusted professional. For Eastern Washington and the Spokane area, it's hard to find a more trusted shop than Airway Height's Inland Sales and Service. These ASE-Certified and time-tested mechanics and technicians are always ready to answer any question or examine any vehicle if you just give them a call at 509-202-4025! Don't forget to check out these online special offers first.
Written By Brian Corey
Published By MORBiZ
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