Assuming you have an automatic transmission; you didn't say.
Assuming the leaking fluid is red; you didn't say.
Assuming it's leaking between the two front tires; you didn't say.
Assuming you mean the car simply doesn't move forward, not that the gear shift lever pops into neutral by itself; you didn't specify.
Finally, assuming you want some advice; you didn't ask.
Guessing you didn't bother to look underneath to try to get an idea of where the fluid is leaking from so I'll try to cover all the possibilities.
Will have to assume the fluid is red, meaning it's automatic transmission fluid. Sufficient leakage will result in clutch pack slippage and failure of the car to move. Reverse uses higher pressures so it might work a little longer, but eventually the car won't go backwards either.
There are two axle seals. Either one could leak, but the fluid loss would be rather slow because there is no pressure behind them. There are three covers that could leak and have to be resealed. This is a relatively minor job, and the leakage would also be slow. If the leak is very rapid, or the puddle where you park is large, look for a popped rubber cooler hose going to the radiator.
If you have the four speed automatic transmission with overdrive, there is a solenoid pack on the front. These have been known to leak too. Usually you'll see the fluid dripping from the area, not pouring out a steady stream.
If you have a manual transmission, the leaking fluid could be red or golden brown, but fluid loss will not cause the car to not move. If the shift lever is popping out of gear, a synchro could be worn, a shifter cable could be out of adjustment, or a worn engine mount could allow the engine to rock and tug on a shifter cable. A worn mount could also cause tugging on the shifter cable for an automatic transmission. That problem would be totally independent of the fluid leakage problem unless a cooler hose was torn by the rocking engine. Those hoses aren't overly long, but also, an engine mount would have to be really bad to cause these problems. The mileage is too low on your car for the mounts to fail, but it would be a place to look if work was done recently that necessitated removal of the front mount.
My best guess is the fluid leakage is the source of all the symptoms you're having. If the source of the leak is not easily identifiable, your mechanic will wash the area and run the engine with the car on a hoist. Don't neglect this problem. Low fluid level allows the pump to suck up air which compresses easily rather than solidly applying the clutch packs. The result is the slippage you're experiencing which causes very rapid clutch plate wear.
Monday, December 7th, 2009 AT 3:02 AM