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Feel, Hear, See, Smell 3e

When you have a problem with your car you detect it with one of your senses. Either you feel something wrong, hear something, see something or smell something wrong. This is one of a series of articles that will help you interpret what you are sensing and come up with some possible cause of the problem.
» Part 1: Warning Lights
» Part 2: Warning Lights
» Part 3: Spots, Streaks
» Part 4: Spots, Streaks
» Part 5: Smoke
» Part 6: Tire Wear
» Part 7: Lights Not Working
» Part 8: Lights Not Working
» Part 9: Lights Not Working
» Part 10: Dome/Map Light
» Part 11: Body/Paint
» Part 12: Wiper Problems

Spots, Streaks, Fluid

  • Red Fluid Under The Car By The Transmission:
    You notice red fluid collecting under your car. You also notice that the transmission fluid level is always low. You need to fix this soon, not only to stop messing up everyone's driveway, but also to prevent serious transmission problems.

    Possible causes:
    1. Your torque converter is leaking: Replace torque converter.

    2. The transmission's oil pump seals are bad: Replace seals.

    3. The transmission cooler lines are loose or damaged: Tighten or replace cooler lines as required.

    4. Your transmission oil pan is not tightened properly, or the gasket is bad: Tighten transmission oil pan or replace gasket.

    5. Your transmission filler tube is loose or damaged: Repair or replace filler tube.

    6. The transmission case is damaged: Repair or replace transmission case.

    7. A transmission gasket or seal is leaking: Replace gaskets and seals.


  • Red Fluid From The Transmission's Filler Tube:
    Whenever you check the fluid in your transmission, you notice a heavy amount of fluid around the filler tube or dipstick tube. Sometimes the problem may cause fluid to spray out of the tube. You may notice a spot of fluid under the car after it has been running and sitting in one spot.

    Possible causes:
    1. You have too much fluid in the transmission: Adjust fluid level accordingly.

    2. The transmission's oil vents are clogged with dirt or undercoating: Check and clear transmission vents.

    3. Your transmission oil cooler is bad: Replace transmission oil cooler.

    4. Wrong type of fluid, or the fluid is contaminated: Flush fluid, replace filter and refill with proper type transmission fluid.

    5. The transmission is overheating: Allow transmission to cool. Repair transmission oil cooler or add an additional oil cooler if towing.



  • Car Uses More Oil Than Normal. Blue Or Gray Smoke From The Exhaust:
    You notice that the oil level is low between oil changes. This did not happen before. It appears that the oil is being burned in the engine because of the smoke in the exhaust.

    Possible causes:
    1. The PCV system is not working properly: Check and repair PCV system as required.

    2. The engine may have mechanical problems: Check compression to determine engine condition.

    3. The engine's valve seals may be worn: Replace valve seals.

    4. The engine's piston rings may be worn: Replace piston rings.


  • Blue or Gray smoke from the exhaust:
    You notice a bluish or grayish smoke coming from the exhaust when you start your car. The smoke may still be there after the car is warmed, but it may be less noticeable.

    Possible causes:
    1. The engine's piston rings may be worn: Replace piston rings.

    2. The engine's valve seals may be worn: Replace valve seals.

    3. Damaged or worn valve guides: Replace valve guides.


  • White Smoke Or Water Vapor From The Exhaust:
    You notice a white smoke coming from the exhaust when you start your car. If the weather is cold, this is normal. If the smoke continues after the engine is warmed up, there is a problem.

    Possible causes:
    1. Automatic transmission fluid may be entering the intake manifold through vacuum connections: Check vacuum modulator for a bad diaphragm and replace.

    2. The engine's cylinder head gasket may be bad: Replace head gasket.

    3. The engine's cylinder head may be warped or cracked: Resurface or replace cylinder head as required.

    4. The engine's block may be cracked: Replace engine block.

    » Part 1       » Part 2       » Part 3       » Part 4
    Part 5       » Part 6       » Part 7       » Part 8
    Part 9       » Part 10     » Part 11      » Part 12
    Additional Information provided courtesy of and Warranty Direct
    © 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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