Where is the small leak coming from? Possible fluid?

I had noticed a leak earlier but did not remember on which side. The car was parked over cardboard for the last 2 days. The black marker signs show the place
of the rear left tire. The small leak is visible near the tire marks, circle. No distinctive smell. The smudge was somewhat greasy.
I looked under the car. The circled area is wet. No issue near the right rear tire.
Can anyone identify the problem?

Since it is at the rear, I’d guess your shock is leaking. No way to confirm from out here on the interwebs.

Could be brake fluid, too. If that tire track is oily, could be brake fluid.

If I knew how many miles on this Versa or if you are experiencing any issues while driving, that could narrow it down. But you didn’t tell us any of that.


about 190K, no issues with driving, the tire track is from moisture, it rained during the night

doing more research, I think it could be hydraulic fluid from a bad shock absorber?

where do I check for the fluid?

That picture shows a leaking shock absorber. Have both of the rear shocks replaced. And have the front struts checked. At almost 200K miles they’re certainly worn too.


the other shock is not leaking,

what is it leaking, can it be refilled? and where?

Shocks and struts are sealed units that contain damping fluid and pressurized nitrogen. Once they leak like that they are failed and need replacement.

They wear out with time and mileage. No responsible shop would replace only one rear shock on a car with that many miles. A new shock on only one corner would make the car ride and handle like an arthritic hula dancer.

Shouldn’t cost more than a couple hundred dollars for 2 shocks installed.

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ok, thanks for the explanation.

what’s the minimum of miles you think I can still drive like that? The trusted shop may still be closed.

When you stop at a traffic light and the rear of your vehicle continues to bounce up and down you will know your waited to long . As for how many miles you can go no one can predict that.

The vehicle will also have a tendency to “drift sideways” in the curves where bumps on the road are present, so this will be a substantial security issue too.

Shocks and struts are supposed to be replaced in pairs.
E.G.–both front units, or both rear units, or all four at the same time.
If you don’t replace both shocks on the rear at the same time, your handling/roadholding/safety will be severely compromised.


Both shocks replaced, $303, NAPA parts, independent garage.
the dealership would have charged about $30 less.

Yeah, dealerships have gotten pretty competitive in the last few years so not always more expensive. Just for the record though in case kids are watching, and in case it wasn’t covered above, both brake and hydraulic fluid is kind of oily and a similar color. But brake fluid will have a strong smell to it whereas hydraulic doesn’t smell much at all. If you smell brake fluid it’s pronto to a shop to get it fixed.