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New leak

Came out yesterday morning and found a small leak underneath my van up near the front under basically where the radiator is. The leak was not very big. Last night I put some paper under my car in that area to see if the leak happened again and it did, again from what looks like under the radiator area and from the fluid on the paper it looks to be oil. If it is oil how could that leak so far up on the car? I have not had the oil changed recently and when I checked all fluids I couldn’t see any loss, but the amount of leak on the ground wasn’t that much. Any ideas?

2002 kia sedona

6 cylinder

137,000 miles

You’ve likely go power steering lines that run through there and transmission cooler lines. Its also the case that leaking oil can have a way of migrating around from its leak point.

Your best bet is just to crawl under there and start looking or take it to someone to get it up on a lift. If you do have something like a leaky transmission cooler line you don’t want to ignore that.

To follow on with that point, both your power steering and transmission fluids are likely reddish in color, as opposed to the golden/dark brown that your oil would be. Does this fluid you’ve found have a reddish tinge? You can compare its color to that on the transmission dipstick. HOPEFULLY the fluid on your transmission dipstick is reddish and not dark brown where it would look like oil, because if it is dark brown, you could potentially have some transmission damage. If your transmission fluid is dark, get it changed immediately… That won’t help the leak, but it might keep the repair costs down.

But cigroller is right - oil migrates, but the two fluids that look most like oil that come from that area are transmission fluid and power steering fluid. If you can match it to one of those fluids from the dipsticks, the solution might be very easy…

color was a brownish color, my trans fluid is like a dirty red, dipped the stick on the paper next to the leak and it didn’t match up.

coolant is green, but if the ratio is low, there can be rust in it to turn it brown. And it can have an oily feel to it. But, if the front main seal is wearing down, the oil can migrate via the transmission fluid cooling lines that run to the radiator and then drip down on the floor. Also, if there is a leak at the front of the valve cover gasket, that could follow the power steering hoses down and leak to the front. These are the most common causes of forward oil leaks, in my humble opinion.

so how do you pinpoint which it is. Right now the leak is very small…

If you have ramps, drive the van on them, crawl under, and looking up. There should be a drop forming right at the leak point. If the leak is dripping from around a frame member or anything else on the way down, it will leave a visibly wet trail.