Fluid leak from the bottom

2010 Kia Sedona

Yesterday after I got home, I noticed fluid leaking out of the pipe located bottom center (more to the passenger side) of the vehicle. It was clear and had slightly oily texture with a tint of rubbery oily scent.

I opened the hood and noticed coolant reservoir looked dry. So just to test it, I poured some distilled water and waited an hour but it was still at the same level so I’m assuming it’s not the coolant. Engine oil is also full.

Any guess to what this could be and would it be safe for me to drive a few miles to the mechanic?

You might be leaking coolant only when the engine is warm. Yes it is likely safe to drive to a mechanic. BUT watch the coolant temperature gauge. Stop driving if it goes into the red or of a red coolant warning light appears. If that happens, park the car and call a tow truck.

I believe your car also has a radiator cap. With the engine COMPLETELY COLD you can remove the cap to see if there is coolant in the radiator. If not, fill it up, too, then carefully drive it to your mechanic as described above. Filling up the coolant reservoir does not fill up the radiator.


It is entirely possible that the OP is just seeing the normal draining of water from the air-conditioner’s condensate drain hose.

To echo Mustangman, the OP should keep a careful eye on the coolant temp gauge while driving to a mechanic’s shop for their opinion. More than likely, they won’t even charge a fee to look underneath and say… Yup! Normal drainage from the A/C.


It wasn’t normal water from AC. It’s been chilly here in Chicago so AC hasn’t been used for a while.

Have you used your defroster/defogger?
The A/C compressor runs when you activate that function of the HVAC system.

No, neither the defroster/defogger. Fluid was coming out like there’s a hole.

Most people describe coolant as having a maple syrup type of smell, which sounds different from what you describe. Regardless, by adding just water, you might have reduced the percentage of coolant below the recommended amount, so you might need to address that soon, especially if you live in an area that gets very cold in winter.

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The only way to know for sure what is wrong is to have a shop do a pressure test on the cooling system.

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Okay, but what color was it?
You stated earlier that it was “clear”, but you didn’t state the color of the clear liquid.
If we know the color of that clear liquid, we might have a better clue.

In any event, you need to have a professional mechanic examine it up close.

There was no color from what I remember. Sorry for being so vague.

I am also voting for normal AC drainage. These days, the engineers think they are smarter than I am, and they turn on the AC in about half the positions that I set for the air discharge vents. It really annoys me, and cuts down my gas mileage.

Rather have the AC operate to keep windshield clear then someone driving with a rag in one hand trying to keep the windshield clear and a cell phone in the other.

Volvo: I learned at a very early age that at those times the windshield was steaming up, I knew where the AC button was.
Today, when I see the windshield steaming up, I still have to find the rotary switch to put air flow onto the windshield…you know, that switch right next to the AC-ON button!
I guess in the future, I will just need to verbally instruct my infotainment system to clean the damn windshield when it fails to recognize that I can’t see.
Today, some cars have blind-spot warning systems with a warning in the center console area rather than the outside rear-view mirror area.
Those engineers think of everything!

Could be a/c, but the coolant tank was empty, not just a bit low, so better to have it checked out.

Well, motor oil has color, as does brake fluid, coolant, transmission fluid, and windshield washer fluid. Obviously, they are all different colors.
Unless you are in the (bad) habit of filling your radiator with water, I can’t imagine that the colorless fluid could be anything except condensate from the A/C.

Can you post a picture of “the pipe”?

Yes, I’ll try adding coolant, drive it for a little then take a picture. Sorry for the ambiguity.

Dip a tissue in the liquid, the color will be very apparent then.

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