Wet Patch Under Car – What Does it Mean?

A leak is something you never want to find, wherever it is, and if you walk outside to get in your car and find a nice puddle of something lying underneath it, you’re rightly going to be a little concerned. Luckily, it’s not always bad news, but when it is bad it can be catastrophic. Whatever it is, Scrap Car Comparison is here to guide you through everything you need to know about wet patches under your car, what they mean and how much you need to worry.

But first, if you’ve been trying to sort out a leak for a considerable amount of time, or it’s just the latest in a long line of headaches your car’s been giving you recently, you might think it’s time to finally give in and send your car off on one final journey. Scrap Car Comparison is here to make that journey as simple as possible, as we’ll not only find you the very best price for your end-of-life vehicle, but we’ll even come and collect it at no additional cost. Simply get in touch with the team today and find out just how much your car could be worth as scrap or salvage.

An oil leak underneath the front end of a car

What causes a car leak? 

If you’ve noticed a leak under your car, there could be a range of reasons behind it – the cause of which will be determined by what the puddle of fluid is composed of. You could be looking at a mechanical defect, which could be caused by either a component failure or simple wear and tear. 

In some cases you could find that the wet patch under your car is no problem at all, and it could simply be condensation, especially if you’ve been running climate control while driving. Of course, it’s worth double checking to make sure, so if you do notice a puddle under your car, keep an eye on your fluid levels across the board.

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What could my car leak be?

There are many fluids flowing around your car, each of them with their own distinct characteristics such as colour and viscosity. All fluids have their own specific job to carry out, and removing one will likely wreak havoc with your car’s internals. So, what could that leak be? Let’s have a look at the likely culprits.

Oil leaking from car

If you notice a puddle of brown, black or amber liquid, then it’s likely that you’ve got an oil leak somewhere. To be absolutely certain that you’ve got an oil leak, try to get as close as possible and if the liquid feels slick and difficult to get off your fingers, then your engine has been depositing oil while you’ve been parked. It should also be relatively easy to identify where the leak is coming from, and in some cases you may be able to fix it yourself. Either way, whether you go for a DIY job or leave it to a professional, you should make sure that your car has the appropriate oil levels before you set off on any journey.

Car petrol leak

A petrol or diesel leak should be incredibly easy to identify, not least because you should be able to smell it before you properly see it. If your sense of smell isn’t quite up to scratch then you’ll be able to identify a puddle of fuel due to the way the colour can change depending on how the light catches it. Hopefully you’ll only see these types of puddles at the petrol filling station as a result of some careless pumpers, but if you’re anywhere else and you’re certain it’s leaking from your car, then do not try to drive it anywhere. The last thing you’ll want is an ignition – call someone out as soon as possible.

Water leaking from car

A water leak might not actually be a problem at all – in fact it might not even be a leak. Quite often it’ll simply be a puddle of condensation forming off the air-conditioning unit in summer or the exhaust in the winter. It could also be your windscreen washers, but this is rarely a problem to be concerned about. If you’re losing a lot of water, though, and it doesn’t seem to be coming from any of the suggestions above, then you could be looking at something rather more serious.

Red fluid leaking from car

A red leak under your car very rarely means good news – and not only for your car either. Red fluid is more often than not going to be transmission fluid. If it is a transmission leak, then it’s best to avoid driving your car as you could pose a danger to yourself and other road users and you’ll want to have it taken to be fixed as soon as you possibly can. It’s not just your car that could suffer as a result of such a leak, though, as transmission fluid can stain the road surface, which could leave a rather nasty patch on your driveway once dried.

What should I do if I spot fluid leaking from my car?

Some leaks, as we’ve mentioned above, are nothing to worry about and could be totally harmless – such as condensation – meaning you can leave them alone without any further thought.

Some problems may require greater inspection, so the simplest trick is to lie down under your car with a torch and try to identify exactly where the leak is coming from. Once you’ve established it’s definitely coming from your car, slide some white card to where you see the leak forming, as this will then help you decipher exactly what colour the fluid is, and therefore what kind of issue you’re dealing with. 

Do I need to take my car to the garage for a leak?

Some issues, such as a leaking valve cover gasket are relatively simple to fix and, providing you have adequate space and resources to do so, you should be able to sort the issue out yourself. However, for some of these problems, particularly if it’s to do with transmission fluid, major oil leaks or fuel, you’ll want to get it to a garage as soon as you can. In some cases, you’ll want to call out a recovery truck as driving a car with a serious leak could put you and other road users in danger.

Get the best price with Scrap Car Comparison

If the leak is the last telltale sign you needed to decide that your car needs to go, then Scrap Car Comparison is here to help you out. By selling your car as salvage or scrap with Scrap Car Comparison, you’re guaranteeing yourself the very best price for your vehicle, no matter its condition. We deal with cars in tip-top condition and non-movers broken beyond repair, and with our agents working across 99% of the country, you’re never too far away from a free collection either. Get started today and see just how much your car could be worth as scrap or salvage in as little as 60 seconds.

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