Why is my Exhaust Smoking

In general, your car should not have any smoke coming from the exhaust while it’s running. Any time you see smoke, it’s a sign your car has an issue. Depending on the color, density, and smell of the smoke, it can indicate different problems.

The causes of exhaust smoke are not always critical, but in some cases, they can pose an immediate threat to your engine. In this article, we are going to dive into why you might be seeing smoke coming from your exhaust.

The Color Matters

As we said before, the color of the exhaust smoke is often indicative of the problem your engine has.

Black Smoke

You might have images of diesel trucks or semis putting out clouds of black smoke. Black smoke is an indicator of a rich air/fuel ratio. The black smoke is just unburnt fuel passing through the exhaust system. Owners of diesel pickups will sometimes (illegally) modify their engines to increase the amount of fuel injected into the engine, therefore producing black smoke.

If you aren’t in the business of illegally altering your vehicle, but are still seeing black smoke, it’s an indicator that your engine is getting too much fuel or not enough air. Dirty air filters, Fuel injection problems, or a blockage in the intake manifold can all cause black smoke.  

White or Grey Smoke

Generally, white smoke is an indicator of coolant entering the combustion chamber. This is never a good thing. The most common causes of coolant entering the combustion chamber are a head gasket leak, a cracked engine block, or a cracked cylinder head. All of these issues are very expensive to fix and may involve replacing part or all of your engine.

White smoke resulting from coolant will be thick, billowing, and smell strongly of coolant. Coolant has a very unique, sweet odor. Burning through coolant puts your engine at risk of overheating,

Bluish Smoke

If you notice bluish-grey smoke coming from the tailpipe, your car is burning oil. Oil could be getting past your piston rings or valve seals, entering the combustion chamber, and combusting with the air/fuel mixture. Burning oil can lead to serious issues. If you see bluish smoke, make sure you are checking your oil level regularly and topping off to prevent damaging your engine.

Water Vapor

Often confused for smoke, water vapor can sometimes be seen coming from the tailpipe when you first start your car. It can appear thin, wispy, and translucent steam, and will quickly dissipate as the condensation is burned off.

What to Do When Your Exhaust Smokes

If you are concerned about what’s coming out of the tailpipe of your car, it’s best to get a professional set of eyes on it. If your think your car is burning oil or coolant, be very careful driving it. While it may run ok, you are putting it at risk of further engine damage. If the smoking is severe, don’t drive the car at all and have it towed to a repair shop.

Exhaust Smoke Diagnostics at Borst Automotive

If your exhaust is smoking, don’t delay! Schedule an appointment at one of our locations in Tucson, Phoenix, or Mesa Arizona today. Our experienced teams will get to the bottom of your problem and recommend a plan to get the issue repaired, and you back on the road. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online now!

Borst Automotive is here to help when you need it. Give us a call, schedule an appointment, or stop in today!