You might think that no matter what it is, it can’t ever be a good thing when you find a mysterious liquid leaking out from underneath your car. Oil, fluid or water, it surely means something, somewhere has gone badly wrong and a repair or replacement job is required. Well, there’s a good chance you’re right, particularly if your car appears to be haemorrhaging liquid at an alarming rate. However, sometimes liquid – namely water – will leak from your car, and that’s natural.
We’ve already covered why your car might be leaking oil, but what about water? Here’s why you might find it dripping or even pouring from your car and what, if anything, you should do about it.
Where to Check for a Water Leak in a Car
Wondering how to find a water leak in your car? In a car, the main source of water is the window screenwash reservoir. However, if it could also be coolant, but if mixed properly with antifreeze as it should be, this liquid would most likely not be clear.
Coolant could leak from a number of places, but will drip out onto the tarmac from somewhere under the bonnet. Common components that cause leaks include the water pump, the radiator and the hoses that transport the liquid to where it needs to be.
The radiator will be near the front of the car (just inside the grille) and it, along with the large, thick hoses that come off it should be examined for any signs of corrosion or other damage. The water pump should be somewhere in between where the two hoses meet at the engine. Again, examine for signs of damage, but if you can’t identify the source of a leak initially, you may need to look under the car for a better view.
Still not sure if you’re leaking coolant? Check the car’s engine temperature when it’s running. If it’s higher than usual, you’re likely leaking the liquid meant to keep it cool. This fluid is highly toxic, particularly to animals, so you should deal with this problem as soon as possible. You should also note the colour of the leaking liquid. Later on, we’ll delve into what different coloured leaks mean.
If you believe the water leaking from your car might be related to the screenwash, then you’ll have to look in a few different places and try a few different tests.
First of all, take a look under the bonnet and examine the screenwash reservoir – marked by a blue lid with a ‘water spraying’ symbol – and check for any obvious signs of damage. If there’s been some colder weather recently, it’s possible that a lack of antifreeze could have caused the liquid to freeze, which will expand and crack the plastic. If you can’t see anything above, check below.
If you can’t see any obvious signs of damage, get into the car and activate the water spray a few times. If there seems to be a shortage of water, or a lack of power shooting it out onto the screen, it could prove that there’s a leak.
If you’re happy to play the long game, keep an eye on it for a while, cleaning your windows regularly but keeping a note of how long it takes for the water to run out. If you find this timespan getting shorter and shorter, you’re probably leaking window wash.
The easier, but pricier, way of figuring out what’s leaking from your car is to simply take it to a mechanic. They’ll know exactly what they’re looking at and be able to identify the issue much faster, plus they could fix the problem there and then, too.
How to Fix a Water Leak In Your Car
Generally-speaking, going with a professional would be the best choice when it comes to repairing any leaks within the engine bay. The likelihood is that something will need replacing, but if you’d rather have a go at it yourself, there are sealant-type products that you can purchase from car accessory retailers.
Coolant leaks in particular can be tackled with a product that you pour into the system, designed to seal up any punctures or cracks without clogging up the components and causing more damage.
Unfortunately, these sealants don’t exist to fix a cracked screenwash reservoir, but if you need a temporary fix to get you the local garage where you can get it replaced, try some kind of thick, waterproof tape to cover the leak.
Do Car Air Conditioners Leak Water?
If you’re finding puddles of water underneath your car after it’s been parked for a while, there’s always the chance that it’s nothing serious at all, but is in fact just condensation. If your car has air conditioning, the temperature could cause water to form and drip from the components.
A similar thing can happen at the other end of the car. You may have noticed that a car in front of you seems to have water dripping from its exhaust pipe. This is often condensation too, and unless it’s excessive, shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
What Is the Coloured Liquid Leaking From My Car?
You may find your vehicle leaking a variety of different coloured liquid onto the road. Each colour is associated with a different kind of liquid and a unique problem. Read on to find out what it could mean if there’s clear, green, pink, brown, red, black, oily or greasy liquid leaking from your car.
This is likely to be water. See above for more information on this issue, but bear in mind that not all water that ‘leaks’ from your car is caused by damage. Often, it’s completely normal.
Most likely transmission fluid, the car should not be driven as it could be dangerous and difficult to control. This will leak from the front of the car, near the engine and is fairly easy to identify.
Sometimes the clue is in the name – if it’s under the engine, it’s probably engine oil. If it’s thick and sticky, your suspicions should be confirmed.
This may be power steering fluid, and will be accompanied by a burnt smell. Driving should be avoided or else further damage could be caused to the car.
Coolant has been covered above, where we advised that you note down the colour of any leakages. Thanks to its mixture with antifreeze, coolant can be found as one of these colours.
Brown liquid around the wheels could be brake fluid. If you’re leaking brake fluid, under no circumstances should you drive the vehicle. Your brakes may not work!
Should I be Worried if My Car is Leaking Water?
If your car is leaking anything that it shouldn’t be, you’re right to be slightly concerned, but don’t go into a panic just because you’ve found a puddle under your vehicle! First, you’ll need to identify the source of the leak – where it’s coming from and what the liquid actually is – in order to properly decide your next course of action.
If you’ve determined that it’s simply condensation from your air con that has been dripping out onto the road surface, then you’ve more than likely got nothing to stress over. However, if you think it might be coolant that’s leaking out from its reservoir, this should be dealt with more seriously and fixed as a matter of urgency if you want to keep your car on the road and from doing further damage to itself.
But, ultimately, a level head is key when you spot a puddle under your vehicle. Take some time to assess any damage that there may (or may not) be and once you’ve discovered the heart of the problem, the severity of the situation should become clear.
What To Do If My Car’s Water Leak Can’t Be Fixed
If your car has sprung a nasty leak and the repair fees outweigh what you think the vehicle is worth, sell it as scrap or salvage with Scrap Car Comparison. We’ll get you the best quotes on the market in just 30 seconds and thanks to our nationwide network of scrap dealers, we can even arrange for it to be picked up at no extra cost. Find out how much your car is worth today using our online valuation calculator, then sell it as scrap or salvage today!