CTE Task: Inspect for Engine Leaks

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Maintenance and Light Repair I (MLR I)


30 minutes


Inspect for Engine Leaks

Task Description


Students will:

  • Watch the linked videos using guided notes
  • Complete the worksheet
  • Record a video of themselves describing the steps and tools involved in inspecting the engine for leaks.


Safety Note: If possible, students should do this task with a vehicle, but ensure the students do so safely.

Inspect engine assembly for fuel, oil, coolant, and other leaks: and determine necessary action. (6.3)

Overall Standard (6): Students will perform basic vehicle engine service and maintenance.

 Content Understandings

Extending Understandings

Upon successful completion of these tasks students will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Explain why leaks must be found.
  • Select the tools required.
  • Describe required safety precautions.
  • Locate the gaskets where leaks occur.
  • Locate the hoses where leaks occur.
  • Locate connectors where leaks occur.
  • Describe the process or steps to be used while inspecting for leaks.
  • Explain why the inspection begins at the top of the engine.   

To move students towards deeper understanding, they should be given opportunities to:

  • Explain the dangers in not finding leaks as early as possible.

Support Strategies

If students are struggling to access this task, additional supports and strategies could be employed as students are engaging with the task.

Key Terms                                                                                                                             

Sentence Frames

Scaffolded Questions

fluorescent dye

______________ can be used to detect leaks to the various systems in the engine.  

What other equipment is needed to use fluorescent dye to detect leaks?

Instructional Resources


Videos to watch (see note guide below)


Fel-Pro Gaskets (2015, September 15) How to Inspect for Leaks (Video) YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FP32p8JKV8 (4:15 minutes)


Car and Driver (2012, October 5) How to Find Fluid Leaks in a Vehicle (Video) YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aab-Ss-odtw  (12:45 minutes)


HumbleMechanic (2020, June 22) How to Find engine Oil Leaks in Your Car – Fast and Easy (Video) YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0EtW6yxKb8 (13:20 minutes)


1A Auto (2020, March 30) Do You Smell Gas? Diagnosing Fuel Leaks in Your Car, Truck or SUV  (Video) YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wb5TVIJ6xbY (8:50 minutes)


Additional Resources

All Tsab (2018, June 6) Nissan frontier coolant leak inspection and replace (Video) YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AtF6BjFi-k (11:30 minutes)


HumbleMechanic (2017, July 13) How to Inspect Your Car’s Coolant Hoses and Junctions | Allstate Insurance (Video) YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apoc2ZUU51k (4;15 minutes)

Student Resource

Click here to download the student resource for this task. 

Student Video Guide

Reasons to find and stop leaks.

  • The vehicle needs all the fluids (fuel, oil, coolant, transmission, and brakes) to work properly.
  • Leaking fluids can damage hoses and belts.
  • Safety is compromised when fluids are leaking.


What to remember while looking for leaks.

  • Leaking fluid travels down and back.
  • Look above where you find the fluid to find the source.
  • Clean the area to locate exact location of leak.
  • Fluid on bottom of vehicle is an indicator of a leak.
  • Drops on ground are clear indicator of a leak.
    • Fluid may not fall or drip straight down due to air pushing the fluid toward the back of the vehicle.
  • Each type of fluid has a different feel and smell.
    • Identifying the fluid being leaked can help find the leak.
  • Safety reminders.
    • Hot engines can cause burns or start fires if sprayed with cleaner.
    • The fluids are poisonous.
  • Remove engine covers and belly pans while inspecting.
  • Look for stains, caked dirt where fluid attracted dirt.
  • Every vehicle is built different, so it needs the inspection adjusted to meet the needs of that vehicle.


Process of looking for leaks.

  • Begin with a visual inspection.
  • Do a methodical inspection.
    • Have a plan.
    • Use a flashlight.
    • A mirror can be helpful.
    • Starting at top is most common.
    • Look at every gasket.
    • Look at every connector.
    • Look at every hose – follow it from top to bottom.
    • Jack or lift the vehicle to look underneath.
  • If you have time (overnight) put a paper under the vehicle to see where the drips fall.
  • Sometimes hoses can be moved or squeezed to see if that causes the leak.
  • For hard to find leaks, apply a little powder or use fluorescent dye in the fluid.
  • Powder can be used to find leaks.
    • Spray foot powder or baby powder.
    • Area around suspected leak must be cleaned and dry.
    • Apply the powder.
    • Run the engine or test drive the vehicle.
    • Look again for the leak which is easy to find in the powder.
    • May not work if you do a test drive in rainy weather.
  • Dye can also be used to find leaks.
    • Dye can be used without cleaning the engine.
    • Put the dye in the vehicle.
      • Identifying the fluid being leaked indicates where to add the dye.
      • Follow directions with the use of the fluorescent dye.
    • Run the engine or vehicle.
    • Use light or glasses that will show the dye where the leak is occurring.


Student Worksheet

Questions for after watching all resources


What are reasons to check for leaks?



What tools and parts are needed?



What are the steps to inspect an engine for leaks?