Troubleshooting a Smoking Exhaust

White smoke out of muffler

Troubleshooting a Smoking Exhaust

A vehicle’s exhaust system is a way to guide gases that are created by a combustion engine safely out of the car, after the harmful emissions have been reduced by the catalytic converter. However, sometimes there are times when the smoke that comes out of your exhaust can reflect something harmful that is happening on the inside of the vehicle. Typically, exhaust smoke should be a slight brown color, and not really noticeable. However, if the smoke is any other color and is quite noticeable, that likely means there’s a problem under the hood of your vehicle…

Blue Smoke

If there is a bluish hue from the gas that’s coming from the exhaust, that usually means that oil is burning inside of the engine, which is problematic. Typically, when this happens, it means that there is a stem seal failure. Check to see if the piston ring is broken or cracked. If that is okay, then you want to check your turbocharger to see if the lube oil is leaking anywhere and burning up, such as from a broken seal.

Black Smoke

If the smoke coming out of your exhaust is just straight black, and there is an excess of it, then that means the fuel level is too high (which means you’re engine is burning too much fuel). One common reason for this is that your air filter could be blocked or too dirty. Likewise, your turbocharger could also be failing, or there could be a problem with your fuel injector. It’s important to get this issue fixed, as soon as possible, as your vehicle will needlessly be burning through fuel in the meantime, which gets more expensive the longer you let it sit.

White Smoke

White smoke coming out of the exhaust is a little bit more difficult to diagnose than other colors. One common issue is that water is mixing with fuel in your engine, or the fuel injector could be faulty. There are lots of reason this might be the case. For example, the head gasket could be filled with water, or there is a leak in the fuel line that is letting moisture in. Another reason for white smoke could be that your car is overheating, and is out of antifreeze. If the smoke has a “sweet” odor that is accompanying it, then it means that your car is burning antifreeze, and there is probably a leak somewhere under the hood.

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