Received two different diagnoses


#1

I have a 2013 Nissan Sentra, 58,000 miles. I noticed an occasional leak from front of car, with orange colored liquid when I dab at stain on ground, which is usually 2-3 inches in size. A Nissan dealership says the leak is an overflow leak from the window washing liquid reservoir. I got a second opinion from an auto mechanic who says it needs a new gasket in oil pan (or something of that nature). Since those opinions are so vastly different, I am puzzled and wonder if I should get a third opinion?


#2

Washer fluid will evaporate quickly.

Oil doesn’t evaporate at all.

If the liquid evaporates, it’s probably washer fluid.

Tester


#3

… And if your oil is orange, you have other problems.


#4

I vote third opinion. What color is the coolant in your Nissan? What color windshield wash are you using? If the puddle is orange, it would have to be engine coolant or windshield washer fluid.


#5

Do you use either Rain-X or Prestone WW fluid?
Those two brands are yellow/orange in color.


#6

That’s why I was a bit puzzled when the auto mechanic said it might be an oil leak. It is orange in color and the stain is gone the next day, as if evaporated.


#7

I just bought the car a few months ago, so I don’t know what brand was put in there.


#8

Check the color of the fluid in the windshield washer fluid reservoir and the coolant reservoir. Dip a paper towel in each. (Hold tight)


#9

I think I will get a third opinion from a different Nissan dealer. I am leaning toward either a coolant leak or windshield wiper leak since the liquid is orange and disappears the next day.


#10

A coolant leak doesn’t evaporate in one day.

Tester


#11

Use the windshield washer, then have a look at the color of the fluid running off the windshield.


#12

Would you say it probably is window washing fluid then?


#14

Yes.

It’s the only thing it can be, if it’s orange in color and evaporates quickly.

Tester


#15

Good idea. I will do that. From all the comments here, I do believe it might be the window washing fluid.


#16

Did you get hard copies of the car’s maintenance over the past 5 years?


#17

Actually I only got a Carfax report. I was moving into my apartment when my car died, so I only had a 2-day window to get another car.


#18

When buying a used car from a dealer Carfax and the dealers national service history (if any exists) are the main source of vehicle history.

Due to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to protect consumers nonpublic information the documents like the previous owners invoices are destroyed. You will should see the previous owner’s hard copies of the invoices when buying from a dealer.


#19

Empty the WW bottle and see if the leak stops after a day or two. If it doesn’t, next up is to check for a coolant leak. The easiest way to check for that is to check the level of the coolant, both in the coolant bottle and in the radiator (if the latter option is possible an a Sentra, not possible to do that on some cars). The cooling system is very well sealed and usually won’t lose more than a cup of coolant every 5000 miles.


#20

Great idea.