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07 Honda Civic EX right frontal leak

On the underside of the front right of the car, there is a leak of brown liquid that is creating puddles wherever I park the car for more than a few hours. I am wondering if it’s an oil leak or transmission fluid, or possibly something else. If I am not being precise enough in my description, please tell me what specifically would give a better idea.

Have you been using the air conditioning?


Normally I will run the heater on low at some point through the day, but not today, and the puddle was there today at work.

Your air conditioner will run even while the heater is on to keep your windows from fogging up . You should be able to touch the puddle and tell if it is just water or a lubricant. Have you checked your oil level ?

I checked my oil an hour ago and it seems to be at a high level, but I also got an oil change exactly one month ago.

I’d guess that’s either power steering fluid or coolant. Check all the fluid levels, especially those two. If something’s leaking one of those will be low. Coolant level has to be checked in both the overflow bottle and the radiator itself for most vehicles.

It could still be oil, it does not take much oil to make a big spot. Happy guess a valve cover gasket, are you looking to fix it yourself or just getting ready to visit a shop?

Soak up some of this liquid with a white paper towel. Then pull your dipstick and wipe it off with another section of the same white paper towel… see if they match.

They probably will… The most common substance that will make a brown drip mark is the engine oil. Transmission is dyed Red and that dye is effective at coloration of that fluid…it only turns brown after severe abuse and or neglect so I doubt it will be ATF from your car, also your transmission is on the drivers side or left side of the vehicle. Your engine and power steering pump favors the right side (passenger) of the car.

Do the paper towel test and let us know what you come up with. Methinks you will get a match.

Turned out the last person to do an oil change did not secure the oil filter good enough. Easy fix.

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Who did this oil change? You could have lost your whole engine if the filter came off completely.

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So it was indeed engine oil… I’m so glad I work on my own equipment… An oil change is so, so easy to perform, there are very few places where it can go awry and yet…people still manage to royally screw even this procedure up…

Good on the OP for noticing the unexplained leak and doing the detective work to figure out why. A major repair expense was likely averted by OP’s diligence.