Most cars have between six and four different types of fluid. Some of these can even be substituted with other types of fluid. Most drivers have a hard time telling which fluids are what, and because they don't know they freak out when they do see a leak. I would like to rectify some of that worry and hopefully give you some information that will help you down the road.
The severity of the leak is going to be the most important issue, and what fluid it is should be the next. When you have oil leaking, your car is OK to drive as long as you can keep oil it the motor. Most oil leaks will occur at the oil pan, valve cover gaskets, or any of the front or rear oil seals. Most of these oil leaks start slow and get worse over time. If you can drive more than a thousand miles before you add a quart of oil, then you don't need to pull over and have your car towed.
Coolant leaks are a different animal altogether. Coolant leaks usually start slow and get worse with time the same as oil leaks. Except coolant is pressurized after your car warms up, which means that it is more likely to leak out quick when there is a bad enough leak. When you can coolant spewing or even just dripping out of your car it is a good time to keep the key out of the ignition until the leak has been inspected. One small fact that you should know about coolant is that it is not always green like most people think. Many different auto manufacturers use their own type of coolant from the factory. Some coolant is orange, or red, while other manufacturers use clear and even blue coolant in their products. Know which one your vehicle has in it, so you can differentiate it between other fluids in your car.
Most of your other leaks will cause notable changes in the drivability or sound of your vehicle. When your power steering fluid is low you will here a whining or grinding noise coming from your engine compartment. Low brake fluid or clutch fluid will cause a soft pedal or no pedal to your brake or clutch pedal. Just like being aware of your personal surroundings, you should be aware of your vehicles surroundings so you can prevent any time of costly damage. Find information on your vehicles well being so you never have to be stuck or have your family stuck on the side of the road for something that could have been prevented.
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