The confluence Green Yampa

Water under car air conditioning

Car Air Conditioning / January 11, 2017

Do you speak spots? Well, you should — your auto technician does. In fact, your technician speaks spots and has been indoctrinated into that ancient under-the-hood tradition called “spotology.”

What we’re talking about here are obviously the spots and puddles that you occasionally see on the street or driveway where you park your car. And while this may sound a bit facetious, if you can’t speak spots then all you can say to the person who fixes your car is, “I keep seeing spots on my driveway.”

There are a variety of different fluids in a today’s automobiles, and you don’t have to take a class in automotive technology to be able to recognize them. Time is money, so when you can provide your technician with a more specific explanation about a particular car ailment, like leaks, it will help both of you.

As you travel down a highway, you can see that the darker center section of the lanes reflect the accumulation of millions of cars’ fluid drips — which would tend to make such occurrences seem normal. And, an occasional contributing drip of motor oil from your engine is usually no reason for alarm.

As a car ages, the dozens of gaskets and seals in it tend to shrink slightly and allow small amounts of fluids to slip by — a drip at a time. What you want to watch for is that “crack in the dam, ” if you know what I mean. When you see a fluid spot on your driveway, you should monitor two things. First, what type of fluid is it? And second, does the fluid type or amount signal a harmless drip or a small but ominous puddle?


Most automobiles have at least six different fluids that can end up as polka dots on your driveway: coolant; engine oil; automatic or standard transmission fluid; power steering fluid; brake fluid; and differential fluid. While brake fluid is obviously the most critical of these fluids, the onset of leakage from any of your car’s systems should be investigated immediately.