Repairing Your Car

Three Cases In Which You Shouldn't Drive With Leaking Car Fluids

A typical car needs different types of fluids to operate efficiently. They include automatic transmission fluid, brake fluid, and motor fluid, among others. Sometimes fluid leaks and the motorist wonders whether they can still drive the car, or if they need a repair as soon as possible. Well, the answer varies depending on the leaking fluid, but here are three cases in which you should definitely not drive:

The Power Steering Fluid Is Leaking

The power steering fluid, which is pressurized within a confined channel, transfers power from the steering wheel to the steering system that controls the wheels. The power steering fluid has a clear to brown color and has a slight alcohol smell. You should suspect that this is the leak you are dealing with if you notice the color or smell near the engine area, as this is where the fluid is. It is dangerous to drive with leaking power steering fluid because it means your car has reduced steering efficiency, which increases the risk of losing control of the car and causing an accident.

The Coolant

The coolant, which is also known as the antifreeze, is the fluid responsible for dispensing the heat generated by the engine; it also prevents the water in the radiator from freezing. The coolant can be green, yellow or orange/red in color. You should suspect a coolant leakage if you notice a fluid of those colors, with a sweet smell, leaking anywhere near the engine area or floorboard. Never drive with leaking coolant because it means the radiator can freeze or overheat, and both cases mean your engine's cooling capacity will be greatly reduced. This can result in a warped cylinder head, a blown head gasket, and melted engine components, among other expensive damages.

Brake Fluid

The brake fluid helps your car to brake by transferring the force applied to the brake pedal into the braking pressure. The brake fluid can be yellowish or light brown and has a metallic or slight alcohol smell. Any leak with those colors and smells anywhere near the wheel or under the firewall is almost certainly a brake fluid leak. In reality, however, leaking brake fluids can emanate from anywhere under the vehicle because brake fluid lines run underneath the vehicle. Driving a car when it is leaking brake fluid is extremely dangerous; it means you won't be able to brake safely in case of an emergency.

If you are not sure whether it's safe to drive with a leak or not, it's best to err on the side of caution and consult a mechanic like H & S Tire & Auto Center.