Tracer Products FAQ

What are the existing vehicle leak detection methods and what are their strengths and weaknesses?

The major methods include:

Fluorescent Leak Detection
Employs an ultraviolet or UV/blue light inspection lamp and fluorescent dyes to find even the smallest leaks quickly and easily. It locates multiple leaks and those not found by any other method. Its lack of disadvantages explains why it is the most popular leak detection technique. In addition to diagnostics, it is the only preventive/programmed maintenance method that detects all refrigerant and fluid leaks.

Visual Inspection
This labor-intensive procedure is very time-consuming except for the largest, most obvious leaks. Some people lay newspaper down to try to locate the general area of the leak. They will check the color of the fluid to try to identify what system it is coming from, i.e., red for transmission fluid, green for coolant, etc. However, it’s often difficult to pinpoint the exact source. Cannot be used for refrigerant leaks or for small leaks which evaporate right away. It’s difficult to detect clear liquids.

Soapy Water and Bubble Solutions
Although it’s inexpensive, this method has a number of serious drawbacks. In addition to being very time-consuming, it is not applicable to oil, hydraulics, transmissions and fuel. Only for refrigerant leaks.

Talcum Powder
Spraying foot powder on and around a suspect area may help you to find the leak if you’re lucky. But don’t run the engine, or you’ll make a real mess. This powder can also foul up carburetors. Only for oil leaks.

Ion Detector (“Sniffer”)
Detects only the general area of a refrigerant leak, not the exact location.This fragile device does not withstand hard use. In addition, it does not operate well in humid conditions. Only for refrigerant leaks.

Compressed Air
Used in water-cooling systems, it can damage hoses, radiators, and other components. It can actually cause additional leaks and enlarge existing ones. Only for coolant leaks.


What method is the fastest, most accurate, safest and easiest to use?

Tracerline UV fluorescent leak detection. It uses UV leak detection flashlights and fluorescent dyes to easily pinpoint hard-to-find leaks in minutes.


What kind of leaks can fluorescent leak detection find?

UV fluorescent leak detection locates all leaks in any circulatory system: locates all leaks in any circulatory system: refrigerant, oil, coolant, fuel, ATF, power steering and hydraulics, as well as auto body water leaks. NOT for brake systems.


How do I use UV Dye?

ADD the appropriate dye to the suspect system & run the system to circulate the dye

INSPECT the system with a Tracerline leak detection flashlight & all leaks will glow brightly!

CLEAN the repaired area with GLO-AWAY™ Plus dye cleaner

RUN the system

REINSPECT the area with the leak detection flashlight. No glow means you’ve repaired all the leaks


Are the dyes harmful to the system in any way?

No. Tracerline dyes are co-solvent free and completely safe when added to the system as directed


Do I need to flush the system afterwards?

No. Tracerline dyes never need to be removed. In fact, they are designed to stay in the system so you can easily recheck the repair and find future leaks.


How do I get started in fluorescent leak detection?

Tracer Products offers a wide range of leak detection kits, lamps, dyes and accessories to meet your specific needs.


Is this method safe for workers?

Absolutely! Just follow the operating instructions provided.


Does using this method void new car warranties?

No. In fact, Tracerline leak detection is used by major U.S. and foreign car manufacturers in their quality control programs. Tracerline dyes are approved by Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo, Opel, Jaguar, Hyundai, and other major vehicle manufacturers.


Can leak detection increase my service orders and profits?

Yes! Finding leaks (especially those that were not located by other shops) builds customer satisfaction, enhances your credibility, reduces labor costs, and helps avoid no-charge reworks. Being able to actually show your customers their leaks makes it easy to get the repair order.


How long does it take for the Tracer Products leak detection kit to pay for itself?

It’s usually very fast! In fact, many servicemen report that they recovered the cost of the leak detection kit on their very first leak repair.


How is Tracerline® leak detection superior to competitors’ products?

Although others have tried to imitate the Tracerline fluorescent leak detection method that Spectronics Corporation (Tracer Products’ parent company) invented in 1955, our products are superior in many ways:


  1. Higher intensity Tracerline inspection lamps give you more power for your money, greater ease of use, and better value.
  2. Tracerline lamps are built tougher to withstand hard, round-the-clock use.
  3. Tracer Products manufactures and services their own products.
  4. Tracer Products has the widest selection of fluorescent dyes to find the broadest range of leaks.
  5. Tracer Products provides the best technical support.
  6. Fluoro-Lite dyes have been extensively tested and are used and approved by major vehicle manufacturers worldwide.
  7. Our fluorescent dyes are proven in over 300 million vehicles.


How are service centers using Tracer Products leak detection products and tools to increase their business?

Since this method enables the vehicle owner to easily see the exact location of every leak, it’s easy to get the repair order. In addition, some repair shops offer this service routinely at a nominal charge for preventive maintenance. They ask their customers if they would like a low-cost leak inspection along with fluid fills, winterization, A/C and transmission tuneups, etc. Selling the leak detection service makes extra money for the station. And finding and fixing more leaks increases business dramatically!