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If you’ve ever found a puddle of water under your car and wondered what it could be, chances are that you have water leakage on your hands, and you may need maintenance. While a small amount of water is normal, a large puddle could signify a problem. Here are three common reasons your car may be leaking water.

Three reasons your car is leaking water

Two people inspecting a car that could be leaking water.
Mechanics inspecting a vehicle | Getty Images

There are various signs to look for in the event of leaking water. According to Access Auto Insurance, the most obvious sign is when you see a puddle of clear, odorless fluid under the car. However, there are other signs to look for as well. For example, you might notice water droplets condensed on the windows, windshield, or inside the car. This is often a clear sign of water leakage.

Alternatively, you might notice drops of water leaking from the exhaust pipe. While water is a by-product of the combustion process, if you see large amounts of water dripping from the exhaust pipe, it could be a sign of a problem. Another sign to look for is steam coming from under the hood. If you see steam, there is a possibility of overheating issues, causing the water to evaporate and condense on the windshield.

When it comes to the causes of water leaks, there are three common culprits, each with its symptoms and solutions. Here is a look at the three most common causes of car leaking water.

1. Exhaust System

The exhaust system is one of the most common causes of water leaks. Typically this happens due to the condensation of water that leaves through the exhaust. When your car engine cools down completely after a long drive and the exhaust gases exit the combustion chamber, carbon and water condensation become much more pronounced. It is at this moment that you will typically notice water dripping from your vehicle’s exhaust pipe. 

Fortunately, this is a normal process that does not indicate any damage. Therefore, you do not have to worry or take your car to the mechanic for this particular problem. Instead, wait for the engine to heat to operating temperature, and the water will evaporate.

2. Air Conditioner

If you notice water dripping from your car while the air conditioner is on, there’s no need to worry. It’s entirely normal for water to drip from the air conditioning system when it’s in use. First, the air conditioner’s evaporator creates water. Then, when the warm air from inside the car hits the cold evaporator, water is created and drips out of the car.

3. Windshield Wiper System

The windshield wiper system is another common place to find a water leak. If you notice water dripping from the front of your car while the windshield wipers are on, it’s likely due to a problem with the wiper fluid reservoir. When the reservoir is full, the overflow tube allows excess wiper fluid to drip out of the car. If you notice this, empty the reservoir and fill it with fresh wiper fluid.

How serious are these water leaks?

While a water leak can be worrisome, it is not indicative of a serious problem in most cases. In most cases, a water leak is simply due to the condensation of water from the exhaust or air conditioner. However, if you notice a large amount of water leaking from your car, or if the leak is accompanied by steam or smoke, it’s essential to take your vehicle to the mechanic to check it out. These could be signs of a more serious problem, such as an overheating engine.