Oil Leak Diagnosis Cost
It's normal for an engine to get quite dirty, which can make locating the source of an oil leak quite difficult. One way a quality shop addresses this is to add a fluorescent dye to the oil, drive the vehicle, and then use a special light to illuminate the leaking fluorescent dye.
There are several systems that can leak oil. Each fluid tends to be a different color, which can help to identify the leaking system.
- Engine oil tends to be brown or black. It can be an amber color if it's new oil.
- Power steering fluid can be many colors: clear, brown, green or red.
- Automatic transmission fluid is reddish in color.
- Engine coolant is green, red, orange, or clear. It has a watery consistency different from oil.
If engine oil is found leaking after an oil change, have the shop re-check to make sure that the oil filter and drain plug were properly installed.
Oil leaks tends to move in a downward and rearward direction. Therefore, oil leaking under the rear of the engine may have originated at the upper front engine area. One way a shop avoids misdiagnosing oil leaks is to use oil detection dye that helps to pinpoint the exact source of the leak.