Leaking Fluid? What the Colors Mean

Fourth Generation Family Owned Auto Repair

Leaking Fluid? What the Colors Mean

Although we won’t necessarily state that if you find leaking fluid underneath your vehicle that you need to start worrying, you shouldn’t take the leaking fluid lightly, either. Leaking fluid can be a serious concern, and by identifying what the colors of leaking fluid means, you will be able to properly identify what is actually leaking from your vehicle. Below are the meanings behind the colors of the most commonly leaked fluids. Depending on the severity of what is leaking, you may want to consider obtaining auto repair in St. Paul, MN.

 

Green, yellow, pink

 

If you notice the fluid underneath your vehicle is green, yellow, pink – or in some instances, looks like slime – then the fluid leaking from your vehicle is most likely coolant (also known as antifreeze). The fluid will feel sticky to the touch, and while it isn’t a serious issue, you need to seek out auto repair in St. Paul, MN so you do not run into any problems in the near future. Ignore the problem long enough, and your vehicle will overheat, leaving you stranded on the side of the road.

 

Clear or Brown

 

If you notice a clear or brown leaking fluid underneath your automobile, kneel down and touch it. If it feels slick, then you are likely leaking brake fluid. Thus, do not even think about driving your vehicle for auto repair in St. Paul, MN! Rather, call a tow truck to transport your automobile to your favorite auto repair professional. The reason is simple: without brake fluid, your brakes will most likely stop working altogether (which could be fatal). Make the smart, responsible decision, and have it towed immediately!

 

Reddish/light brown

 

If you spot fluid underneath your automobile that is reddish or light brown, then you may have a power steering fluid problem on your hands. Before you jump to this conclusion, identify where the fluid is sitting. If the leak is near the front of your automobile, then you have a power steering problem, meaning you need to obtain auto repair in St. Paul, MN at your earliest convenience.

 

Reddish and thin, brown and thick

 

If you spot leaking fluid that is reddish and thin or brown and thick, take a look at where it is sitting. If it is near the center of your vehicle, then you have a transmission leak. If this is the case, obtain auto repair in St. Paul, MN immediately, as it could be a sign that your transmission is about to fail.

 

Light brown or black

 

One of the most common leaks, if you spot leaking fluid that is light brown or black, then you are experiencing an engine oil leak. If it’s a little drip, there probably isn’t even a reason to obtain auto repair in St. Paul, MN. Find the source of the leak and seal it.

 

Clear, thin liquid

 

Here’s a rule of thumb: if it looks like water and feels like water, then it’s probably water. If so, there’s no need to worry!

Downsides of Skipping an Oil Change

Quite often, the simplest and most routine maintenance is what most slips our minds the easiest. Forgetting or skipping an oil change might not cause immediate and irreparable damage, but it can certainly shorten your engine’s lifespan and sometimes cause problems with only expensive solutions. You can save yourself a lot of money and trouble by getting your oil changed so that your engine always has fresh, clean oil to work with at Signal Garage – the premier destination for auto repair in St. Paul, MN!

 

But first: what’s the big deal with changing your oil, anyway?

 

What does oil do?

 

Almost everyone knows that motor oil is a lubricant, but that is not the only job it has. In addition to lubricating the moving parts of your engine, oil also has to cool and clean the engine. As oil ages, it becomes thinner and dirtier, filled with dirt and tiny metal shavings. As tiny as those shavings are, they cause a domino effect; they not only keep the oil from lubricating properly, they cause further engine wear, filling the oil with even more metal shavings. If this engine wear continues for too long, the damage can be costly. An oil change is a very cheap preventative to keep this from happening.

 

Eventual Damage

 

Without proper lubrication, the parts in your car’s engine will eventually start to get to hot. This means your engine will not run as efficiently and can cost you money in gas mileage. The real problems are not as obvious at first, though; the heat can make engine parts warp and eventually wear out. Eventually the entire engine will shut down if an oil change does not happen in a timely manner. Replacing an engine is, at minimum, several thousand dollars, sometimes more than the car itself is worth.

 

Oil Sludge

 

Oil sludge is another major problem that can occur, particularly in extreme weather. Every engine has hot spots that get hot enough to burn oil off, which creates sludge, but sometimes conditions occur that make it build up more quickly. For example, when it’s cold outside, if you are taking short trips where the engine does not heat up much, the normal condensation on the engine doesn’t evaporate, instead combining with the oil to create more sludge. This sludge can build up to create clogs, which can cause engine parts to fail very quickly. If you often deal with extreme weather or difficult driving conditions, you may need an oil change more often than most.

 

Leaks

 

Your engine is a labyrinth of tubes and filters and ducts and seals; it is only natural that there will, occasionally, be a minor failure somewhere in there and some oil will escape. You see oil stains all over the roads and parking lots, and likely in your own garage. Unless it’s a major leak, it is not likely to cause you any trouble, but over time those tiny leaks add up. If you skip your oil change, your oil levels will eventually decrease so much that there is not enough to effectively cool or lubricate your engine. It is best to avoid the many expensive complications this can cause with a bit of routine maintenance, namely a regular oil change.

 

 

 

 

When is the right time for wheel alignment?

Many people avoid or completely forget to perform wheel alignment, although this is a very useful activity. The good news is that there are certain signs that can help you determine whether it is time to visit a car repair store in St.Paul or not. These signs can save you both time and money.

Very often, people make jokes about older vehicles that drive straight and although we are right behind them we can see all of their wheels. This is when people say that it is time for a wheel alignment. However, this is only the final stage of vehicle negligence and this situation can cause numerous dangerous consequences for the vehicle owner and for the rest of the drivers. So, what exactly is a wheel alignment?

By performing a wheel alignment we are ensuring that the wheels are always and properly in contact with the ground. This directly affects the way vehicles keep their direction on the road, but it also affect the overall driving comfort and control of the vehicle. The whole process usually doesn’t take longer than twenty minutes and during this procedure, the mechanics are checking the alignment, i.e. its deviation by using special programs. With the help of precise laser instruments and cameras, the mechanics take measures of the vehicle in order to compare them with the factory specifications. If there are any discrepancies it is clear that the wheels must be aligned. The price of St.Paul wheel alignment service depends on tire size.

What is important to understand is that the optimal period when the wheel alignment should be checked is between 10.000 and 15.000 miles or after any repair or change that can affect it (like replacement of essential parts of the suspension – shock absorbers, tie rod endings etc.). Of course, depending on the way the vehicle is driven and used there are few other symptoms that can occur and these symptoms will indicate that it’s time to check wheel alignment. For instance, it is not uncommon for drivers crossing over larger potholes or curbs to affect the alignment. Due to these shocks drivers can easily lost control of their vehicles. Many drivers decide to ignore this problem and continue to drive their vehicles. However, because of the shock the alignment can be disturbed which can become a serious problem if it is not resolved in a timely manner.

Unfortunately, most drivers visit the repair shops at an advanced stage when the car starts to “pull” the driver to one side or when the tires are worn on the inside. So, the most convenient and simple solution for this problem is to perform regular checks of the wheel alignment at every 10.000 miles, but also to regularly adjust tire pressure (once a month). In this way we can directly prevent excessive tire wear, which affects the safety and fuel consumption.

Modern auto repair shops use laser wheel alignment which is actually a three-dimensional alignment. They use special cameras to record the range, camber and caster of the wheels.

 

Preparing your car for a winter break

There are many people who don’t drive their cars during the winter. Some of them believe that the expenses for driving during the winter period are too high while others don’t feel safe to drive during winter. In any case, it’s a good idea to stay on top of car maintenance year-round.

Preparing the vehicle for the colds days, mandatory winter tires and snow chains, fuel, risk of accidents are some of the reasons why many people wrap up their cars and wait until the weather gets warmer. In case you want to park your car for a longer period of time you will need to take care of few other things besides locking the car and placing it on a safe place.

Before parking the vehicle always check and if necessary add antifreeze. Brake oil and engine oil should be fresh because these fluids are known for their ability to absorb moisture fast and easy which can later cause some serious problems with the engine of brake efficiency. Regular short driving keeps these fluids in a perfect condition.

In the past, all the reservoirs on the cars were made of metal, however many new car models come with plastic fuel tanks. So, in case you have a metal fuel tank, fill the tank to the maximum before parking the car for a longer period of time. When the tank is full there is no place for condensation on the inner side and in this way you will protect the metal tank from corrosion. If you have a plastic fuel tank this doesn’t mean that you should not fill the tank. In order to protect the fuel pump the tank should be at least half full. You won’t be wrong if you add a special stabilizer to the fuel. This stabilizer keeps the engine parts through which the fuel goes and prevents corrosion and decomposition of fuel due to prolonged storage.

The perfect solution for the vehicle would be to keep it parked in the garage during this period of inactivity. However, if you don’t own a garage you can use canvas car cover. Keep in mind that using a car cover like that is not completely harmless because you will have to remove the cover after every rain or snow in order to protect the paint from the moisture. On the other hand, it would be a good idea to wax the vehicle before winter and protect the paint. You can put some oiled cloth in the exhaust system in order to prevent moisture penetration, but don’t forget to remove this piece of cloth before starting the engine.

Even if you have decided to park the car in the winter period, you should regularly start the engine and take a short drive once in a while. If you don’t use your car at least once in two weeks in order to help the engine reach operating temperature, you will increase the risk of damage to the belts, the battery will discharge, the fuel and gas can evaporate etc. So, if you want the car to continue running even after the period of stagnation, make sure to start the engine once in a while.

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