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Use Leak Detection Powder & Dyes Find Leaks – Car Blog

10:38 am How To Auto Repair


Pinpointing oil, coolant and gas leaks with powder.

OK, maybe Johnson didn’t have this use in mind for their baby powder. But, it can help to pinpoint the origin of leaks. This is particularly true if there’s a leak and the source is not obvious. Baby powder is an inexpensive readily available substance, however it will not change colors when it absorbs fluid like Met-L-Check D70, a leak detection powder that some car manufacturers recommend to help verify automotive fluid leaks. After all a correctly diagnosed leak on the first attempt, saves warranty costs for the dealers.

Occasionally in the past, I used baby powder to help determine what was causing a leak. I remember once I was checking a fuel leak near the fuel rail. It was really hard to trace where the leak was coming from. It wasn’t spraying, more of a quick saturation when the vehicle was started. I would dry the engine off, but by the time I would start the engine and go around to the engine compartment to look for the leak, the fuel would saturate the top of the engine making it difficult to pinpoint where it was leaking from. I dried the engine off with compressed air one final time and sprinkled baby powder in the area of the leak. (I always kept baby powder around for re-using latex gloves, since it allows them to slip on easier) So with the baby powder on top of the engine, I was ready to start the vehicle once again. An auto technician I worked with was walking by, I explained to him I was looking for a leak, so had him watch while I started the engine. What he said next struck me as funny, when he peered closely checking for the leak, he said “smells like baby powder.

Ultra violet help. Another way to check for leaks is to add leak detection dye into the transmission, power steering, engine oil, coolant or fuel. UV dye can also be used in air conditioning systems to help find leaks. The UV (Ultra Violet) dye will help to reveal where the leak is coming from. UV dyes are used and approved by Kenworth, Freightliner, Cummins, Caterpillar, John Deere, GM, Ford, Chrysler and other major original equipment manufacturers. The use of enhancing UV lights and glasses helps the UV dye to glow and make the leak more visible. When UV dye works ideally, the trail of the fluid can be followed back to the source of the leak. This can really be helpful when the wind from driving the car down the road, blows the fluid all around and makes it hard to determine where the leak originates from.

2 Responses
  1. Kenny Allen :

    Date: May 8, 2010 @ 7:35 pm

    Great TIP! I’ve also used spray foot powder to find leaks. It is good for vertical or upside down applications where it might be difficult to shake the baby powder.

  2. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: May 8, 2010 @ 7:55 pm

    Kenny, I like the way you think – outside the box 😉

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