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We have a 2005 Chrysler t and country with 180,000 miles on it. Today I noticed the brakes making a grinding sound sometimes when I brake. Then when I turned the car off I noticed a puddle of clear liquid under the car. Any idea what that might be? We have 4 severely autistic children and are hoping
To not have to buy a new car right now due to stuff with the kids. Thanks in advance!

Clear liquid?? Does it smell like gasoline? Is it a bit slimy and washed off easily with water? - brake fluid

Grinding brakes are bad and need immediate attention as does a gas or brake fluid leak. Either fix it or stop driving it, the van is dangerous. I’d even suggest towing it in rather than driving it to a trusted independent mechanic, I am that concerned.

I would not spend a ton of money on this van. It is near the end of its life.

Having to get brakes repaired, or proactively maintained, is a normal expense. If they are making grinding noises it could be the pads are worn so far you are starting to get metal-to-metal contact. Can you discern if it’s a sound coming from the rear or the front?

Clear liquid is most likely water dripping from the HVAC system - not a malfunction.


Sound is coming from the front.

The liquid was clear. The grinding just started today that I noticed and is intermittent.

There are two drip locations in the photo. Are they both new and both from the car being parked? Their smell and color and consistency can tell a lot. You said it was clear; did it smell like antifreeze?
If these locations are from being parked, their location suggests that they are not connected to the sounds from the brake.
Consider also asking (and searching) at this site:

And your TC might still have quite a bit of life left.

Both new, both once the car was parked and turned off. Both odorless.

It looked like water. That was the consistency.

And thank you!

Is there someone there that can jack the front end of the vehicle up, put it on jackstands, and look underneath?

It may be too late now, but with puddles one way to identify fluid puddles is to mop a bit up with a clean, dry cloth. Color shows up much better on white cloth, and color can be a clue.

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There’s several possibilities for the dripping fluid, some innocuous, some needing immediate att’n. Suggest at a minimum to ask your shop or even just a gas station attendant (if such a thing exists where you live) to check the fluid in the cooling system, make sure it is full. And check the engine temperature gauge in the meantime, in your situation the last thing you want is an overheating incident.

My guess --just a guess – is the leak is either associated with the A/C system drainage (normal thing) or the windshield washer pump has sprung a leak. I had that happen one time w/my Corolla, leak appeared just like that. You might not think you use the A/C this time of year (assuming you are in the temperate northern hemisphere), but but every time you turn on the defrost it turns on the A/C and the frost it removes turns to water and eventually drips out like that.

Brakes can temporarily make noise when they get wet and rust forms. That will go away after half a dozen or dozen stops though. If it doesn’t, you’ll need a proper brake inspection done.


Does the liquid from both spots seem to be the same thing?

It does seem
To be the same thing. I tried the cloth trick mentioned above but it was already dry. I will do that if it happens again. Thanks to all doe your input!

@GeorgeSanJose’s comments are good ones. The two liquid reservoirs that far forward are washer fluid and coolant. Check the level for both BEFORE starting the engine again.

When checking the coolant level, do it after the engine has cooled down and include removing the radiator cap to see the level inside there. Don’t get burned by the cap or the liquid under it.

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The fact that the liquid dried up means that it is nor brake fluid, antifreeze, oil, or transmission fluid. Windshield washer fluid would also dry up but it would likely leave a colored stain. You likely need front pads and rotors.

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Any precipitation lately? You may have clogged drains for the cowl area (where the windshield wipers are) that are overflowing.

We had rain early last week but otherwise we have been pretty good.

yep, that was my first thought also, based on where the one puddle is it would seem that the window washer is leaking or a washer hose is leaking. if it stops leaking after a day or two its probably the window washer and the washer container is empty from the leak, thats why it stopped leaking.