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Mystery Drip from 2004 Camry
Old 02-06-2010, 09:22 AM   #1
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Mystery Drip from 2004 Camry

Our Camry often leaves a large wet spot on the concrete driveway. Once, after driving home, I stuck a white paper under the car to collect some of the drippings........they were a clear liquid non-oily liquid which I would guess is water. I know condensation from the air conditioner is a common source of this type of drip and this would agree w/ the nature of the drip and the fact that coolant is not being lost.

The mystery to me is that the air conditioner is not being used.....at least it is not intentionally turned on.
Cause? any problem w/ this?
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:44 AM   #2
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Was the defroster turned on? That will usually also turn on the A/C compressor to dehumidify the cabin air and result in water dripping.

As long as it is just water I wouldn't worry about it. Could be something as simple as dew collecting somewhere.
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:39 AM   #3
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The mystery to me is that the air conditioner is not being used.....at least it is not intentionally turned on.
Cause? any problem w/ this?
Does your manual give you enough info or a picture to help you figure out that it's from the drain line and not from somewhere/something else?

Hondas used to have a problem with the A/C condensate drain line getting clogged (mold/bacteria growth) and emptying very very slowly. Eventually the condensate would back up into the system and overflow onto the front passenger's carpet. But if you didn't run the A/C frequently then it would still drip for hours or even days after the last use.

Another possibility would be that the drain line has twists & turns where water accumulates until the car is parked in your driveway, and then the orientation allows it to drain.

Finally, you might want to check your windshield-washer reservoir and hoses for cracks or leaks. Even if you use a detergent (the blue stuff) it still might not be present in enough quantity to look different from water. We just use water in ours and would have similar symptoms.
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:50 AM   #4
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Guys.......Thanks for the ideas. Will check out the defroster just to be sure.
Nords......I like the w/w idea.....keep forgetting that unless absorption length is long enough, might not be able to detect the color. Didn't think about this one and since the w/w cleaner is always being used, the level is always changing.
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Old 02-06-2010, 12:20 PM   #5
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Exactly my thought. It is probably the defroster using the compressor. I have had my truck drip enough water to form a large puddle. One of my past vehicles dripped the water onto one of the linkages for the front suspension. It ran down that and dripped a few feet from where the compressor was. Took me a while to figure that one out. Considering there is no plain water in your drive train (or shouldn't be) the AC compressor condensation would be the likely source. If it smells sweet or is greenish or purplish, it could be from the cooling system, but even then sometimes the overflow tank will just be a little full after a service and shed a little coolant. If the water is slightly oily or greasy, that could just be from coming in contact with your undercarriage. Probably not a an issue, but worth a little investigation to verify.
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Old 02-06-2010, 12:34 PM   #6
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Our Camry 2002 with 130000 m, has a similiar problem.

The Mechanic when changing the oil mentioned to me to keep an eye on the coolant Reservior & keep adding some in case the level goes down, till we change the WATER PUMP.

I hardly ever find the coolant level low though, so nothing is being done now except MASTERFULLY IGNORE.

On the next oil change (Usually every 15000m -AMSOIL) I plan to bring that up again with the Mechanic.
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:45 PM   #7
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If you have automatic climate control I bet it's just the AC condensate. Try turning the AC off. On my Honda you can still get auto climate control ("FULL AUTO" button) but just press the A/C off button. That way it stays nice and warm. Can do the same on my BMW.

Course, I'm in the north east US, and it's freezing out.
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:49 PM   #8
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Camry has old-style controls with separate Defrost and AC controls plus DW does not believe me that AC helps clear misty windows so I am sure she does not turn AC on during this season. I put a collecting tray under car to collect liquid and then transfer into a clear plastic bottle to try to determine color. Probably don't have enough yet to be sure but still looks clear and not blue
(windshield wiper fluid). so right now still looks like condensate but don't understand why.
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:57 PM   #9
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Camry has old-style controls with separate Defrost and AC controls plus DW does not believe me that AC helps clear misty windows so I am sure she does not turn AC on during this season. I put a collecting tray under car to collect liquid and then transfer into a clear plastic bottle to try to determine color. Probably don't have enough yet to be sure but still looks clear and not blue
(windshield wiper fluid). so right now still looks like condensate but don't understand why.
Are you sure you or DW is not setting the defroster to clear W/S? If you do this, even though hot air is blowing, the AC will be on in the background to add dry air to the mix. The AC light will probably not be on when this is happening.
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:07 PM   #10
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Alan, thanks for that info. Was not aware about AC being on in background. I'm sure DW uses defroster occasionally but probably not during the middle of day which is when I would notice the wet concrete. Maybe there's a looong dispersion in time because the exit for the condensate is restricted and it's traveling a tortuous path .

So is DW correct that turning AC on doesn't help w/ defrost because it's already on in background. I remember reading that turning AC on should help but it could be decades old info I'm recalling.
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Old 02-07-2010, 07:16 PM   #11
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Alan, thanks for that info. Was not aware about AC being on in background. I'm sure DW uses defroster occasionally but probably not during the middle of day which is when I would notice the wet concrete. Maybe there's a looong dispersion in time because the exit for the condensate is restricted and it's traveling a tortuous path .

So is DW correct that turning AC on doesn't help w/ defrost because it's already on in background. I remember reading that turning AC on should help but it could be decades old info I'm recalling.
My car expertise comes from listening to Car Talk on NPR every week

I've heard this issue discussed at least twice in the past and have experimented myself to confirm that the AC does come on with the defrost but the AC light stays off. We've had 2 Corollas and 2 Camrys so I'm guessing it was one of those I did the test on.

If the fluid looks and feels like water with no coloring then it is almost certainly condensate. You can browse the Car Talk website and even post questions there to be answered by other listeners more knowledgeable than myself in automotive issues.

Car Talk. Car tips, advice, and troubleshooting.

Good luck,

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Old 02-07-2010, 09:04 PM   #12
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My 2003 Camry was in for an oil change a few years ago and they spotted a slight leak in the water pump which was replaced under warranty. So it could be the water pump.

But it also could be because the A/C is used anytime you set the fan to blow on the windshield. I know DH's Corolla works that way, I assume the Camry does, too.
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:16 PM   #13
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If it smells sweet or is greenish or purplish, it could be from the cooling system, but even then sometimes the overflow tank will just be a little full after a service and shed a little coolant. If the water is slightly oily or greasy, that could just be from coming in contact with your undercarriage.
... and if it has a nasty bitter taste then it's probably dog or cat urine...
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:39 AM   #14
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... and if it has a nasty bitter taste then it's probably dog or cat urine...
- ooooeeey - I haven't had that personal experience regarding troubleshooting! I think I'll take your word for it.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:14 AM   #15
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- ooooeeey - I haven't had that personal experience regarding troubleshooting! I think I'll take your word for it.
What kind of medical engineering have you been practicing?!?

Actually it's an old punch line among mechanics... recycled to gross out our teenager.
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:59 AM   #16
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What kind of medical engineering have you been practicing?!?

Actually it's an old punch line among mechanics... recycled to gross out our teenager.
The kind that has machines testing for bitterness, not humans :-) Isn't that what engineers do? Design stuff so we can 'remotely' look at things without having to 'personally' experience - transduction! Although, I guess I could ask the doc to taste it.......

I must be a teenager - it grossed me out alright - had never heard it before.
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Old 02-08-2010, 12:52 PM   #17
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My 1999 Camry often has a small puddle of water under it. It comes from either using the AC in hot weather or defroster in cooler weather. I've never considered it to be a problem though.
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Old 02-08-2010, 02:22 PM   #18
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My brand new 2010 Camry was also dripping last week, right behind the right front wheel. The liquid was non-greasy, colorless and odorless so I figured it was only condensation though I had never seen a car condensate like that in the winter.
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Old 02-08-2010, 03:46 PM   #19
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Were these Camry's noticing a Mack truck approaching at a high rate of speed? Hence the puddle.

Seriously, a lot of cars will run the A/C in automatic temperature control mode.
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:28 PM   #20
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I must be a teenager - it grossed me out alright - had never heard it before.
Next time I'm shoveling out our vermipost container I'm going to have to explain to our teen how to tell the difference from cat poop...
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