Introduction: How to Find a Fluid Leak in Your Vehicle

Picture of How to Find a Fluid Leak in Your Vehicle

Video tutorial on how to find a fluid leak in your vehicle. It’s important to maintain all your fluid levels in your vehicle, but unfortunately due to age components can fail such as hoses, gaskets, seals, or sealants. Eventually your vehicle forms a leak that can jeopardize a component causing premature failure. Fluids which can leak in your vehicle include engine oil, power steering fluid, washer fluid, fuel, coolant, brake fluid, freon, transmission oil, differential oil, and transfer case oil. Not all vehicles include all these components I have listed, so it will depend on your vehicle. The typical sign of a leak is the fluid level dropping. It’s important to start out with a clean engine bay, so I would normally recommend cleaning it, I do have a video on this. This allows us to easily spot a leak and it’s much nicer to work in a clean engine bay.

Tools/Supplies Needed:

  • florescent dye
  • ultraviolet light
  • yellow safety glasses

Step 1:

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In order to find a leak easily, you can use a florescent system dye which can be added to any leaking fluid. Fluids which can leak in your vehicle include engine oil, power steering fluid, washer fluid, fuel, coolant, brake fluid, freon, transmission oil, differential oil, and transfer case oil. Not all vehicles include all these components I have listed, so it will depend on your vehicle.

Step 2:

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The typical sign of a leak is the fluid level dropping. It’s important to start out with a clean engine bay, so I would normally recommend cleaning it, I do have a video on this. This allows us to easily spot a leak and it’s much nicer to work in a clean engine bay.

For this I am using a dye which can be purchased in a small bottle such as this from a local auto parts supplier and is specific to certain fluids. Add the dye to the system, drive or run the vehicle or a certain period of time depending on the severity of the leak, and then inspect for leaks.

For AC systems, you can purchase dye in a bottle such as this, but you will need an injection pump. Other times, AC can also be purchased in a compressed bottle which simply plugs onto the system.

Step 3:

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In order to spot that leak, you will need an ultraviolet light. Here I am using this multi mode diagnostic light. Using yellow safety glasses will help spot the dye while also provide protection for your eyes from the uv light. Click through the modes until you activate the UV light and scan the engine bay. A UV light is needed to highlight the florescent dye that was added to the system.

Step 4:

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Just to give you a peak once the sun has gone down and the daylight is minimal. While it can be seen during the day, I have found it doesn’t show up on the camera as well. You can see the dye immediately, both at the master cylinder connection and power steering pump line.

Repair the leak as required, this maybe something simple like tightening a clamp, to replacing a gasket, replacing a part or repairing a cracked casting.

Stay up to date with my latest tutorials, don't forget to FOLLOW my profile and be sure to check out my YOUTUBE page as well for all your DIY needs.

Comments

nehmo (author)2017-07-15

"...while also provide protection for your keys from the uv light."

I know. My keys always deteriorate when I use this detection method. UV light is so distructive!

imcp1024 (author)nehmo2017-08-27

The intensity of light from one of these will not hurt your keys.

4DIYers (author)nehmo2017-07-17

Lol, ugh I hate auto spell. I've offically figured out how to disable it on my laptop.

imcp1024 (author)2017-08-27

What, you can't use alien blood where you live?

SteelLegJ (author)2017-07-04

that's pretty cool, I've never heard of this before

4DIYers (author)SteelLegJ2017-07-09

Thank you :) A secret from what the professionals use ;)

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