Do you experience water dripping from your car's engine? This is what it means

Written by Henrik Rothen

Sep.12 - 2023 5:03 PM CET

This is what it means.

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During the summer months, you might notice water dripping from your car's exhaust pipe and wonder if it's a sign of a costly or even dangerous engine leak. However, experts from RAC assure drivers that if the dripping liquid is water, it's likely harmless.

As the weather warms up, people are more inclined to use their car's air conditioning while driving. This can result in water seeping out of the engine.

The air conditioning system cools and dehumidifies the incoming air, leading to the formation of condensed water in the evaporative system.

This water has to go somewhere, so it's released through the exhaust system and drips out the back of the car.

A small amount of dripping water is generally not a cause for concern.

Pay attention to the details

If the liquid is not colorless or has an unusual smell, it's advisable to have your car checked by a mechanic as soon as possible.

For reference, coolant usually has a light green hue, motor oil is dark and viscous, and transmission fluid has a distinct (often unpleasant) odor.

Similarly, if large amounts of water are flowing out of the exhaust, you should get it checked.

To minimize dripping, you can adjust the amount of outside air your air conditioning system draws in.

Additional insights from RAC experts

RAC experts also note that hot weather can cause white 'smoke' to emanate from the car's ventilation openings.

This is nothing to worry about unless the smoke has a pungent smell. It's merely water vapor from the condenser escaping through the other end of the system instead of exiting via the exhaust.

Running the system for a short period should stop the smoke.

If, however, the smoke is dark in color and has an unpleasant smell, you should immediately stop the car, exit, and call a mechanic.

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