Don't Drip and Drive#
Why Leaks Matter#
According to the EPA, polluted stormwater runoff is one of the greatest threats to clean water in the U.S.
Oil and fluid leaks from your car are often signs of bigger problems. Ignoring them can lead to inconvenient breakdowns, engine damage or more expensive repairs.
When it rains and as snow melts, runoff carries pollutants such as oil, antifreeze, gas, transmission fluid and other products down storm drains, contaminating our rivers, streams and lakes. Small leaks and drips add up.
Oil and other toxic vehicle fluids end up in puddles where our kids and pets like to play. They also end up in our streams and lakes where they harm fish, wildlife and habitat.
Help Protect our Waterways for Future Generations
- Check your car for leaks once a month. Take a moment to observe the area where you park to determine if there is any type of stain or fluid leaks present on the ground.
- If you find a leak, fix it right away.
- Soak up oil in your driveway with kitty litter, sweep it up and dispose in the garbage.
- Place an oil pan or other container under the leak when your vehicle is parked.
Check Your Vehicle for Leaks#
- Find a piece of cardboard that is about 3 feet by 6 feet long, or large enough to cover the space under your vehicle.
- After driving at least 15 minutes to warm up the engine, put the car in park and turn the engine off.
- Place the cardboard under the engine for at least 15 minutes.
- Pull the cardboard out, look for drips.
- Oily stains could be engine oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, transfer case fluid or differential fluid.
- Watery fluid could be coolant or windshield washer fluid.
- Note what area of the vehicle the stain appears under.
- Condensation from air conditioning can create drops of water and water from snow or rain can get trapped creating puddles under the vehicle the next day.
- If you identify any leaks, find a reputable repair shop or individual to fix them.
More Car Care Tips#
- Perform vehicle maintenance where chemicals and fluids cannot be washed into a storm drain.
- Properly recycle or dispose of used batteries, motor oil, antifreeze and other hazardous wastes. Find where to recycle motor oil and other automotive fluids.
- It is illegal to discharge pollutants to storm drains. Do your part to help the environment by reporting illegal dumping at 970-221-6700 or online at fcgov.com/AccessFortCollins.
- Washing your car in the driveway can send about 120 gallons of grime-filled water downstream. Use a commercial car wash, where water is recycled and sent to treatment facilities. If you do wash your car at home, use a shutoff nozzle, ecofriendly soap and wash your car on the lawn or gravel to prevent the excess water from going down storm drains. Dump your soapy bucket in the sink, not the driveway or ground.
Did You Know?
Even small projects like planting a shrub require you to plan before digging. Know what’s below. Call 811 before you dig.
Stormwater Master Planning helps protect people, property and the environment against flooding, erosion and water quality problems caused by runoff.
Free sprinkler checkups are available to find ways to save water and improve system efficiency.