Is it Safe Driving with Red Fluid Leaking from Car?

If you observe some sort of red or pink fluid leaking from car, it is necessary to figure out what is wrong with your car right away. Pink or red fluid leaking from car mostly indicates a problem with the transmission. 

Fluid leaking from a car is generally not a good signal and in most cases, it can bring about a lot of panic for its owner. 

The fluid used in the gearbox is a distinctive red or green color. So, it’s easy to determine whether the leaked fluid comes from transmission or somewhere else.

Any expert mechanic will advise immediate fixes if there is any problem in the gearbox. But, can you drive the car with a leak in the fuel line or some other components of the transmission?

Why Does the Transmission Fluid Leak?

The most common reason is a broken, loose, or worn-out transmission leak sealer. A transmission has different types of seals including input shaft seal, output shaft seal, axle, seal, and more across its mechanism. Damage or hole in any of them will cause red fluid leaking from car.

red fluid in car
The fluid may leak for several reasons. (Photo: Gold Eagle Co)

A gap in the transmission could be another potential issue. The fluid could come out if there is a breach or slit in the torque converter, pan gasket, transmission pan, or other areas. It is indeed rare to have a leaking gasket or a cracked case, but not completely impossible.

A leak in the fluid lines could also be the source of this problem. This type of damage could be the result of debris in the road hitting the fluid lines. Heat could be another culprit causing this issue. Remember that a hole in the lines drains out the fluid pretty quickly.

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Is It Safe to Drive When Red Fluid Leaking From Car?

The safety depends on how bad the leak is. You can drive around for years if it’s just a small drip. There is nothing to worry about as long as the transmission fluid remains at the right level. However, it is recommended to repair the leak as soon as possible. It could affect the vehicle’s performance and lead to total damage to the transmission.

A low level of transmission fluid will warn you with various signs such as slipping, increasing rpm, jerking in and out of gear, the speed of the car being out of sync with the gear change and acceleration, and more. 

In that case, you should not drive the car anymore and call a service center to tow it to the repair shop.

Ignoring the symptoms will only make the problem worse over time. Eventually, it will end up with the failure of the transmission. 

Remember that repairing a small leak will not cost much but it will cross a thousand bucks if the hole becomes bigger or the transmission stops working.

car is leaking red fluid
Driving with a small leak is comparatively safer. (Photo: Neo Drive)

How To Stop Red Fluid Leaking From Car?

There is nothing much to do except take care of the car and take it to a servicing shop for regular maintenance. All the seals in the transmission are rubber and they wear out with regular driving. 

Just like other components such as brake pads and tires, the seals also wear out over time. Besides, it’s not rare to have cracks, holes, or damage in various transmission components.

So, when you see a car leaking red fluid, check the fluid level and then take necessary action.

Other Possible Causes Behind Leaking Red Fluid From Car

Besides transmission fluid leak, engine coolant leak and power steering leak are two potential culprits responsible for pink or red liquid leaking from car. Below we will give you more information about them.

1. Engine Coolant Leak

Engine coolant has the function of keeping the car engine temperature stable by running around various parts of the engine and its color is pink or red. 

If you noticed the red or pinkish fluid leaking from car has a sweet smell and appears like water, it is very likely that it is engine coolant. The location where you likely see engine coolant leaking is commonly under the engine or the radiator. 

To confirm the issue, you need to check the reservoir (it is a semi transparent bottle with “low” and “high” markings under the hood) and if you see coolant is not enough, inspecting the radiator (it is right next to the grill at the front of the car) is what you have to do.

Keep in mind not to open the radiator cap right after powering off the car as you might get burned by hot steam. 

After removing the radiator cap, you can easily see the level of coolant liquid in the radiator and if it is impossible to see, it seems like there is a leak in your cooling system and you should need the help of a mechanic.

pink fluid from car
Engine coolant has the function of keeping the car engine temperature stable. (Photo: Shutterstock)

2. Power Steering Leak

Power steering liquid is designed to help the driver turn the steering wheel easier. So if this fluid is leaking, you will spot that when cornering at lower speeds and meet more resistance from the power steering than usual. 

If the power steering fluid of your car is leaking, you will commonly detect pink car fluid or red fluid leaking from front of car (close to the front bumper). This fluid smells like the smell of burning oil a bit and looks like water.

The power steering needs to be sealed and protected so if there is a leak in that of your car, you should have your car inspected by a specialist.

Watch the video below from Scotty Kilmer to see how to identify car fluid leaks by smell and color!

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