Home Car News Four common automobile leaks and what causes them

Four common automobile leaks and what causes them

Oil Leak

Oil leaks are a right pain, they make a mess of your driveway and cost a small fortune in oil top-ups. It’s best to get them fixed as soon as you notice them.

What causes oil leaks? More often than not it’s seals around the sump, or the oil filter. This washer needs to be changed every time the filter or sump plug is removed. Washers cost cents and worn ones increase the chances of an oil leak.

You can also get oil leaks due to old engine gaskets, or corroded seals and connectors. In modern cars, the oil lube feed for the turbo is another common place for leaks to occur.

Get this sorted, so it does not lead to a seized turbo and a possible bill of thousands.

Washer Fluid Leak

You may not think this is an important leak to consider, but it is when you can’t see where you’re going and need a clean windshield.

Most people topup their screen wash with neat water. Bad idea. Water has a very high freezing point. If you aren’t using a nearly neat screenwash formula in cold winter weather, that water can freeze.

When water freezes it expands. There’s water inside your washer pump all the time, so when it freezes, it can break or damage the washer fluid pump.

A broken pump will stop your washers, or can crack the fluid bottle and silently drain away whilst your car is parked up.

Make sure you’re using a screen wash that can go down to the minus numbers.

Radiator Leak

Radiators are fundamental to the running of your car. They stop the whole engine from overheating and cooking itself.

Coolant runs through the block, then along little vein-like channels in the radiator. Air from a fan and a grille at the front of your car, passes over the radiator, cooling the fluid.

A radiator leak is one of the most common leaks to get, especially in older cars.

The cause? Corrosion. Coolant is water based. If it’s rarely or never changed, sediment can collect in joints or channels in the radiator. In turn, these start to rust. Eventually, the rust will eat all the way through and a leak can develop.

Overfilling a coolant system can also spring a leak. If you don’t leave enough room for the water to expand as it boils, increased pressure and heat will damage hoses and connectors.

Power steering fluid

Last on our list is power steering fluid. Since the early 90’s cars have been fitted with power steering, making steering and driving easier.

Power steering is something we take for granted… until one day it feels like you can’t turn the steering wheel with ease anymore.

Some car models are more prone to this than others. Older generation Ford Falcons built from 2002 – 2008, had a known issue with leaky power steering. Something that has long since been rectified on newer models.

The cause tends to be wear on either the feed or return line, normally situated right at the back of the engine bay near the bulkhead.

It’s normally the O-rings which deteriorate or weather with age. O-rings can break down and even end up getting into the power steering fluid, if you aren’t careful.

It’s a good idea to check these O-rings if your car is 10 years or older. Just in case.

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