Addressing Auto Problems: Finding out What Your Vehicle’s Smoke Signals

The Parts Bin | Automechanic

Exhaust problems are some of the most common auto problems experienced by drivers around the world. You may, at one point, have noticed that your vehicle is emitting too much smoke or that your auto has been releasing puffs of white or very dark emissions. You’re not quite sure if the type of smoke or the amount of smoke being released by your vehicle is still within boundaries of what could be considered “normal” for your vehicle. You’re asking yourself: “Is it normal? Is it bad? Should I take my vehicle to a mechanic?” Before you start panicking or dismissing your vehicle’s exhaust emissions as something trivial, read some of this pointers and clarifications first.

As was mentioned in the previous post, it’s normal for small amounts of exhaust emissions to exit your vehicle at any given time. Large clouds of smoke may even be normal if you’ve just started your vehicle during a particularly cold morning. The clouds of smoke may be attributed to condensation. If, however, your vehicle is releasing excessive smoke, or if the smoke is grayish, black or white in color, then this indicates part malfunction.

On Excessive Smoke:

Excessive smoke from your vehicle indicates that your auto is using up too much engine oil or fuel. This type of failure can range from poor fuel economy to a plugged catalytic converter. It can even be caused by a previous engine overheating incident.

If you notice that your vehicle has been using too much oil and you see that your auto’s oil level is unnaturally low between oil changes then it only means that your engine has been burning up too much oil too soon.

This problem could indicate that our engine is having mechanical problems. To be sure, do check your vehicle’s compression to find out if any of your engine parts are in need of replacing or repair.

If your engine is in good working condition, then it’s possible that the problem could be with your auto’s PCV system. Check your PCV system to find out if it’s in good working condition. If it’s malfunctioning then you may need to have a change of PCV valves.

Otherwise, check your vehicle’s engine valve seals. Look for signs of wear or damage. Replace your damaged valve seals if necessary. If the problem is not with your valve seals, then look at your engine piston rings for signs of damage. Repair or replace if needed.

On White Exhaust Smoke:

If you notice that your vehicle has white smoke coming out of its tailpipe, then this could be caused by water or coolant being released by your auto. There’s a possibility that the white smoke is coming from a puddle that has made its way into your exhaust pipe. If you’ve been driving through wet road conditions, then splashes made on the road can bring water into your exhaust pipe. Check your coolant levels periodically to determine if this is the root of your problem.

It’s normal for white smoke to be released by your auto after you start your car first thing in the morning. But if the white smoke continues, then you have an internal coolant leak. Coolant leakage could be caused by a blown head gasket. Check this auto part to find out if it needs to be repaired or replaced.

If your engine has recently overheated, then it’s possible that your vehicle’s head gasket has shrunk, letting coolant escape and enter into your combustion chamber. To get rid of the excess coolant, run your engine for about thirty minutes. This ought to warm up your vehicle’s exhaust. If the white smoke persists, then you may have more engine problems. If you’ve replaced your blown head gasket already and the smoke continues, then it’s possible that your vehicle needs to have a block sealer installed into the cooling system to prevent further coolant leakage.

On Bluish Smoke:

If your vehicle has been releasing blue smoke, then the problem could lie with having engine oil enter into your vehicle’s cylinder area. When this happens, the oil joins your vehicle’s fuel and air mixture and is burned along with it. In the same way that white smoke results from having oil enter into the cylinder, this incident could also lead to having blue smoke exit your tailpipe.

This problem could be a result of a malfunction from any of the following engine parts: your engine’s seals, O-rings and gaskets. Check if any of these parts are damaged. If one or more than one of these parts are damaged then replace them immediately. If there’s too much oil leakage inside your engine, then this could destroy a spark plug, causing your engine or engine cylinder to misfire.

On Gray Smoke:

If you see gray smoke coming out of your exhaust immediately after starting your vehicle, then this could be caused by worn engine valves or piston rings. Check these vehicle parts as soon as possible to find out which parts need repair or replacing.

On Black Smoke:

Black smoke from your vehicle’s exhaust may indicate further fuel problems. If you notice that your engine is not running as well as it used to, or if you experience consistent engine/engine cylinder misfiring then you could have either a leaking fuel injector, a dirty air filter or your carburetor choke might be stuck. Repair or replace these indicated vehicle parts as soon as you can.

If, however, the aforementioned auto parts are in great working order, then black smoke could indicate an ignition problem. Check your rotor and distributor cap. Your ignition module may also be in poor working condition.

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3 Responses to Addressing Auto Problems: Finding out What Your Vehicle’s Smoke Signals

  1. sarah says:

    Every one should take care of Auto problems like smoke from tail pipe and another problemes. nice article to read.

  2. autofrankie says:

    well said. thanks sarah.

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