Pink fluid leaking from the car — causes and fixes
Your car comes with various liquids in mechanical systems, and they serve essential roles in powering your steering, braking, engine cooling, and more. However, it can be hard to understand the exact leak source in case you find a puddle of colored liquid under your car.
So, if you find pink fluid leaking from the car, it can be one of many things as sometimes these liquids come in the same color. Don’t worry, though – we’ll tell you just how easy it is to find a source of the leak based on its pink color and other attributes relevant to different types of liquids.
Finding the source of the pink leak
Car liquid leaks can appear in different colors, and that can be a solid sign that helps you diagnose the issue. Of course, water leaks from the A/C unit may appear in a regular clear color, and blue leaks are often a sign of leaking windshield fluid.
Still, it’s not always that easy, since pink leaks can be a sign of several completely different things. The first thing you can do to determine the cause is to park your car on a clear surface overnight. It’s enough to just pick a regular parking spot outside of any dirt roads or sand and gravel.
This allows you to start your car the next morning and pull out to see if the leak still appears. You can do most of the job yourself by simply paying attention to the leak location. If the liquid seems to be leaking from the lower front end of the car, it’s likely the radiator coolant. You can also pay attention to other symptoms besides the leaking location.
If your car turns off when driving but turns back on, you can confirm it’s the coolant liquid based on this symptom and the location of the leak. We’ll go through all the potential reasons behind a pink leak from your car’s systems, so you can pinpoint the leak source easily!
Types of pink fluid leaks in a car
If you notice any type of pink leak from your car, you should try to determine the leak location and see if it matches one of these common reasons:
- Cooling system liquid leak
- Power steering liquid leak
- Transmission fluid leak
Another useful tip is to pay attention to the fluid density, as it can tell you a lot about the leak source. For instance, if you notice a pink watery liquid in front of your car’s radiator grill, it’s most likely engine coolant. On the other hand, the power steering fluid is also watery in texture, but it comes with a powerful burnt-like smell.
Finally, the transmission fluid is dense and oily in texture, so it can easily be distinguished from the previous two symptoms. It will also be located underneath your car, so that’s another sign to look for.
How to diagnose engine coolant leaks?
An engine coolant fluid comes in several colors including pink, yellow, and even green. Transmission and power steering fluids are more common when it comes to pink leaks specifically, but you shouldn’t rule this one out just yet.
Engine coolant leak usually appears right below the radiator grill or below the engine area of your car. However, it can sometimes be difficult to find the exact source, since the leak can be anywhere in the engine cooling system.
Even if you find a small transparent pink stain below the car, it can be a sign of a coolant leak. The coolant fluid serves an important role in picking up the heat from your engine, therefore preventing it from overheating. So, this leak should be addressed immediately, and you can even pop up the hood to look for signs.
You’ll usually find a stain somewhere near the radiator cap. Also, when your engine cools down, you can pop the hood and carefully smell the engine’s surroundings. If you feel a sort of sweet and fruity smell, it’s the engine coolant leak.
Pink leaks from the power steering system
In case of a power steering fluid leak, you’ll also encounter a puddle of pink liquid near the front of your car, only this time it will have somewhat of a burnt smell. So, it’s the first sign that you can rely on to differentiate between coolant leaks and power steering leaks.
Perhaps a more important sign will appear as you drive your car, specifically when turning the steering wheel. You’ll feel the resistance and the steering wheel should feel heavier than what you are used to. As the fluid keeps leaking, you will feel like driving a classic car without a power steering system.
There are several components you should inspect for a leak in this case – at the top of the power steering hose or another end of the hose near the rack. Usually, a bolt or two gets loose and that could cause a leak since this is a sealed system. If you can’t find the source of the leak yourself, you should drive straight to a mechanic since it can be due to a broken power steering pump.
Transmission fluid leaks
Finally, if it’s not the coolant leak or a leak in the power steering system, it could be a transmission fluid leak. This is one of the most dangerous scenarios since it could lead to a complete failure of transmission parts. It takes much time and effort to rebuild a transmission, and it’s one of the most expensive repairs you can make.
A transmission fluid leak often appears as a reddish or even dark brown fluid besides the pink color, so that’s something to look out for. The most common sources of transmission fluid leaks are torque converter seals, transmission pan gaskets, or broken seals.
In case of a transmission fluid leak, you’ll feel a heavy clutch pedal and difficulty shifting through the gears on manual cars. When it comes to vehicles with automatic gearboxes, common symptoms are vibrations during gear shifts, or humming noise coming from below the shifter.
Now that we went through all the potential reasons behind pink fluid leaking from the car, you can diagnose the issue and understand the gravity of the situation. If you hear driving noises below the gear shifter and vibrations during gear shifts, drive straight to a mechanic.
You can save yourself from major transmission rebuild expenses this way, as even the smallest leaks can damage your transmission. In case of coolant or power steering leaks, you might be able to find the leak source yourself.
How do you identify which fluid is on the ground under your car?
You can identify which fluid is on the ground under your car by the liquid density and smell. Coolant leaks are watery and have a sweet smell, power steering leaks have the same texture with a burnt and oily smell, while transmission leaks have a petrol-like smell.
What is the pink fluid leaking from my car?
The pink fluid leaking from your car is either coolant liquid, transmission liquid, or power steering liquid.
What fluid is pink in a car?
Engine coolant, power steering, and transmission fluid are pink in a car, although coolant liquid can sometimes also be yellow or green.
Is it safe to drive with a transmission fluid leak?
No, it’s not safe to drive with a transmission fluid leak, since unlubricated transmission components could get damaged and result in failing transmission.