Red Fluid Leaking From a Car – Explained

Do you see red, dark brown, or pink fluid leaking from a car? It can be detrimental to your vehicle. Don’t panic, this article will explain the causes of red fluid leaking from a car and everything you need to know.

Car fluids have different colors. This could be to differentiate them from one another. For instance, the windshield washer fluid is blue, the automatic transmission fluid is red. The coolant has various colors. It could be green, blue, red, pink, orange, or gold.

While the coolant has various colors, it comes in a watery form and not oily forms. This makes it easier for motorists and mechanics to differentiate it from other fluids.

It is crucial to differentiate fluids in your vehicle when there’s a fluid leak. The color and smell can show where the leak is coming from.

Fluid leaks cause motorists to panic, as it shows a problem in a component unit. If you notice red, pink, or orange fluid leaking from a car, do not take it for granted.

In this article, we’ll focus on the causes of red fluid leaking from a car. Let’s dive in.

car fluid color chart

What Causes Red Fluid Leaking From Car?

There are chances you have over one red fluid in your vehicle. But red fluids in vehicles are not much.

Here are the causes of red fluids leaking from a vehicle.

Brake fluid leaks

Most brake fluids have light brown or clear colors. Sometimes, brake fluids are light red. They can be light red when new and turn to dark red or wine color as it ages. If you notice red or clear fluid leaking from a car behind the tires, you likely have brake fluid leaks.

Don’t conclude yet. Unscrew the brake fluid reservoir on the engine bay to find out the color of your brake fluid.

Coolant leaks

As I explained above, engine coolant has different colors. It can be red, green, blue, orange, pink, or gold. While checking the brake fluid color in the engine bay, find out your engine coolant color in the overflow tank.

The overflow tank is a clear plastic box. So, you don’t have to unscrew it. Check the color. If it is red, determine whether the leak is in a watery or oily form. A watery red fluid leak shows you have a coolant leak.

Determine the level of engine coolant. Engine coolant leaks can occur from several places in the cooling system components. It could be a sign of radiator leaks, torn radiator hose, or a faulty water pump.

A red fluid leaking from a car that is overheating shows you have a coolant leak. It could be the cause of the engine overheating. Check these components and fix them as soon as possible before it causes severe system overheating and damage expensive cooling components.

Power steering fluid leaks

If you have a hydraulic power steering system on your vehicle, you also have a power steering fluid. If you own a car with electric power steering, then you don’t need to worry about power steering fluid.

The power steering fluid is red. A bright red fluid leaking from a car could mean you have steering fluid leaks. Check for leaks around the power steering pumps, the steering hoses, and the steering gearbox or rack and pinion.

If you see any red leaks around these areas, fix them asap before it causes severe damage to the power steering system.

Transmission fluid leaks

Whether you notice red fluid leaking from a car after an accident or you see red fluid puddles under your vehicle, it could be a transmission fluid leak. The transmission fluid lubricates the tranny components and keeps them running smoothly. Hence, it is necessary for the proper functioning of a car.

The transmission fluid is bright red when new, and turns wine color, orange or dark brown when it’s old. If the see dark brown puddles at the center of your vehicle, it means you have leaking old tranny fluid that needs replacement.

If you ignore or continue driving your vehicle with dark brown transmission fluid, you may end up damaging the tranny. Read this article to find out when to change transmission fluids.

car leaking red fluid and smoking


Q: Is It Safe to Drive When Red Fluid Leaking from a Car?

It depends on the severity of the leak. However, I recommend tracking where the fluid is coming from and fixing it before it causes severe damage.

For instance, if the leak is coming from the transmission unit, it can cause significant damages and drop expensive repair bills on the table.

A low tranny fluid will cause various drivability issues like transmission slipping, hard transmission shifting, and increased RPM. If you notice these symptoms, stop driving the vehicle. Call a transmission expert to tow the vehicle to their garage.

Q: How serious is a transmission fluid leak?

A transmission leak poses danger to your car, SUV, or truck. Transmission fluid protects and lubricates transmission components and keeps them in good working order. It is also called transmission oil, as it performs the same function as engine oil.

A transmission leak can cause poor transmission performance and severe damages to vital tranny components. Always fix transmission fluid leaks on time to prevent unforeseen catastrophic damages to transmission components.

Q: Does transmission fluid leak red?

The transmission fluid is red. If you see a red or dark brown puddle of fluid in the center of your car, it’s likely leaking transmission fluid.

Do not allow it to continue for an extended period because it can cause a catastrophe inside the transmission. Transmission fluid does much more than lubricate internal transmission components. It also contributes to optimal gear shifting.

Q: How to stop red fluid leaking from a car?

Fixing orangish-red fluid leaking from a car requires you to first track what fluid it is. Red fluid can be engine coolant, power steering fluid, or transmission fluid.

Once you track where the leak is coming from, repair or replace the defective component.

However, if you don’t understand the underhood working principles of your car, contact a certified auto mechanic. The mechanic will do a thorough diagnosis and fix the problem.

Final words

Regardless of the cause of red fluid leaking from a car, fix it on time before it escalates a major repair. Several things can cause red fluid leaking from manual cars. Likewise automatic cars.

This article has provided sufficient information on the causes of red fluid leaks from a car. Whenever you notice a fluid leak, fix it as soon as possible before it escalates and drops significant repair bills on the table.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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