Have you spotted a puddle under your car when parked?

If you're a new driver or you've seldom seen fluid leaking from under your vehicle, the sight can be worrying. In most cases, however, the leaking from you car does not indicate a serious issue.

Car leaking coolant?

If the fluid turns out to be coolant leaking from the bottom of your car rather than water, you could have a serious problem.

Coolant is usually green, blue or yellow and has a sweetish smell. Normal water will of course be clear and odourless.

If your car is parked in a dark location or the ground is dark, it may be difficult to determine if the puddle of fluid under your car is coolant or water. Try dabbing a piece of paper or an old cloth in the puddle so you can have a closer look.

Unless someone mistakenly put straight water into the coolant chamber, the presence of clear water does not suggest that your car has a coolant leak.

Click here to learn which coolant you should be using.


Causes of a coolant leak

Coolant may leak from a car for a number of reasons. The most common reasons for a car leaking coolant are:

Unless you have mechanical expertise, if you spot an engine coolant leak you should take your car to your garage. They will be able to pinpoint the issue and replace the damaged component.


How serious is a coolant leak?

Any coolant leak suggests your car has a serious problem - since your engine depends on coolant for its cooling system to work.


Can I drive my car if it has a coolant leak?

You should be able to drive your car a short distance (to the garage, for instance) if you first top up the coolant level.


Condensation from the air conditioning system

In the vast majority of cases, water leaking from under a vehicle is usually condensation from the air conditioning system, or from the exhaust.

If you see water around the rear of the engine compartment, it's likely to be AC condensation.

This is normal and is nothing to worry about. 


Water dripping from under car, ac not on: Does my car have a serious problem?

As explained above, water leaking from car can often also be attributed to exhaust condensation if the water is around the exhaust.

Water around the exhaust suggests exhaust condensation. In most cases, exhaust condensation is also nothing to worry about, unless there are very large clouds of white condensation coming from the exhaust. Such a large volume of condensation suggests coolant has found its way into the combustion chambers and is burning alongside the air-fuel mixture. This in turn may mean the head gasket has blown.


Just about to go on a long drive and noticed that your car is leaking water?

If you spot water under your car just before you set off on a long drive, you may wonder whether you should postpone your trip.

If you think there is a coolant leak, it is advisable to visit your nearest garage. But if there is water under the rear of the engine compartment, it is most likely just condensation from the AC unit - and you can continue your journey as planned.

In the case of a leak around the exhaust, as long as your coolant levels are good, it doesn't suggest a problem.


Breakdown cover

Having a suitable breakdown cover policy in place will give you peace of mind, should you experience any issues with your car.

Why not get a quote today?

For more details on the car breakdown cover options we offer visit our car breakdown cover page.


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