Leaks are a very common problem especially vehicles that are over 5 years old or have high miles.
The first thing you want to do is conduct a visual inspection. With the vehicle off, check all your oil, fluids, and antifreeze.
Second check the engine oil. Remove the dip stick and there should be two lines. One line is low and one line is full. If the oil is on the low side there is a potential you might have a oil leak. Lift the vehicle with a floor jack and place the vehicle on a jack stand. There are a few areas where engine oil can leak.
Check the engine oil pan gasket. Use a flashlight and shine around the engine oil pan, if you see a leak you may need to replace the oil pan gasket.
Next, check the oil pan drain plug. This is a common problem where oil can leak, over time, the oil pain drain plug thread may start to strip due to constant removing and tightening. If there is a leak, you may need to replace the drain plug.
After the more common oil leak areas are inspected. Next you need to look for a potential leaky rear main seal between the bottom end of the engine and transmission. Usually when the main rear seal is bad, engine oil tend to leak very fast.
If that looks fine, next check the timing side of the engine. The timing chain cover can leak a few different places depending on your vehicle. Also check the top of the engine for a potential leaky valve cover gasket. The oil may seep past the valve cover gasket and drips to the bottom of the engine.
If there is no leak around the engine, I recommend checking the transmission fluid. Remove the transmission dip stick and check the low and full line. If the fluid is at the low level, inspect the bottom of the transmission.
There are a few places where the transmission fluid can leak. Leaks can occur at the transmission pan gasket, drain plug, transmission line, axle seal and transmission cooler.
The next system that can leak is your power steering system. Power steering fluid can look very similar to engine oil and transmission fluid. I recommend checking around the power steering reservoir where the power steering hoses connects to. Sometime, it can leak around that area. Also, follow the power steering hoses and it should go straight to the rack and pinion. Then inspect the rack and pinion for potential leaks. Usually the leaks occur around the inner tie rod area.
If all those areas look good, now it’s time to check for a potential antifreeze leak. Usually when antifreeze starts to leak, the engine can start to overheat. That is only one symptom.
Make sure you don’t overlook your cooling system (which has antifreeze). Antifreeze can leak in many areas.
Here are the most common areas to check: around the thermostat housing, upper radiator hose, lower radiator hose. Then inspect the top and bottom of the radiator, heater core hoses, water pump area, freeze plug on the engine, and leaky heater core. The easiest way to check for a leaky heater core is to go to the passenger side of the vehicle and look underneath the glove box. If it is leaking you sometime see a visible leak and also the area will smell like mold.
Your vehicle needs all of these fluids to operate properly, when fluid level is low because of a leak repairs are soon to come. So you will want to get it taken care of as soon as possible.
If you want help finding that leak, give us a call at Jorge Alonso Auto Repair right here in Oceanside. Were happy to help and will hunt down that leak to eliminate any future repairs from that issue.