White Smoke From Exhaust
Main Causes And How To Fix

White smoke from the exhaust can be a sign of a severe problem with your car. Let’s look at the main causes of the white smoke issue and how to fix it.

What Does White Smoke Mean?

If you see white smoke coming from the exhaust pipe, try to determine the reason as it can be a big problem, depending on the thickness of the smoke.

The white smoke is the result of normal condensation, which builds up inside the exhaust system. So if it is thin like a vapor, there is nothing to worry about since it will disappear quickly. But, thicker smoke can be a big issue.

Thick smoke usually comes from the fault in engine coolant system, which could lead to many serious problems like damaged cylinder head, blown head gasket, cracked engine block, and damage of other components.

Even a small coolant leak can lead to serious damage in your vehicle.

What Is Your Car Trying To Tell You With White Smoke From Exhaust

Thin white smoke from the exhaust can be because of the following reasons:

Broken Fuel Pumping Injection

If you are driving a diesel car, and if lots of white smoke comes out when starting the engine, it means the fuel pumping injection timing has stopped working.

In this case, it is recommended to contact a certified mechanic to check the injection or to replace it if necessary.

Leaking Coolant

Another cause of white smoke issue is the leaking coolant. It is more noticeable while the car is running. It can happen due to burning coolant that got mixed in or due to low coolant level, which can lead to heat up and exhaust white smoke.

Problems Caused by Other Parts

When the cylinder head, head gasket and the fuel filter are damaged, or the engine is clogged or cracked, a huge amount of white smoke will come from the exhaust. If you ignore these problems, fixing or replacing them may be expensive.

Regular maintenance helps you to minimize the chance of such a problem occurring and saves you money.

How To Fix White Smoke From Exhaust Issue

Here are some tips for you if you decided to fix the white smoke issue at home on your own:

Step 1: Inspect The Intake Gasket

There is a gasket that seals the manifold to the head inside the vehicle. It is responsible for distribution of the combustion mixture, along with the coolant to the separated intake port. These ports will be placed in the cylinder heads. If it gets damaged, the coolant will get into the port and combustion chamber, creating white smoke while driving.

First of all, remove the intake manifold and inspect the intake gasket. If there is any leak or rust, try to repair it as soon as possible.

Step 2: Inspect The Head Gasket

The gasket seals the cylinder head to prevent the coolant from getting into the cylinder. If it gets damaged, the coolant can enter the chamber which will create white smoke from the exhaust pipe.

If the head gasket looks good, then check the cylinder.

Step 3: Inspect The Cylinder Head

The cylinder head is made of aluminium, which is easily breakable in overheated conditions. It plays an essential role in connecting the engine block and head gasket. If this part gets broken or damaged, you have to replace it.

Frequently Asked Question about White Smoke From Exhaust

Why Does My Car Have White Smoke From Exhaust When Starting?

There can be several reasons if you get white smoke from exhaust:

  • A cracked or0141 warped cylinder head

  • Head gasket failure

  • Cracked engine block.

One of the most common causes is a cracked engine block which may allow coolant to leak inside the engine combustion chamber and cylinders, which is very dangerous.

What Causes White Smoke From Exhaust When Accelerating?

There can be two reasons, either transmission fluid or burning coolant.

If it is transmission fluid , then the engine is sucking the fluid through a vacuum hose, which leads to the color white from the smoke. You can also notice a burned oil smell from the exhaust. If the white smoke is because of a burning coolant, then most probably your car has a crack in the cylinder head or a leaky head gasket.

If your vehicle is lacking coolant or the engine has been overheating, you can pressure test the cooling system. If not, then it could be a leaking gasket. Replace it immediately.

If the fluid is the problem, replace the transmission vacuum modulator valve. Also, check the fluid level, top it off if needed.

What Causes White Smoke From Exhaust to Smell Like Gas?

Smoke from cars can be water vapor or steam since it is introduced into the chamber. That’s why you will have water dripping from the tailpipe. Or you can also notice water in the fuel or a leak in the head gasket. This can lead to rough idle, or you can smell a raw fuel smell. In this case, replace the fuel if necessary.

What Causes White Smoke From Exhaust When Idle?

If you noticed white smoke when stopping or idling, then most probably there is oil in the combustion chambers of the engine. It is very easy to determine since there is a difference between burning gasoline explosion and a burning oil explosion. To save the spark plugs, try to fix this problem as soon as possible.

What Causes White Smoke From Exhaust When Cold?

Sometimes it is normal to drive with white smoke in the cold weather, but if white smoke is continuously coming from the exhaust pipe while driving, you should pay more attention. If you are driving a diesel car, it can be because of unburned fuel or coolant going through the engine. Or, one of the most common reasons is the incorrect injector timing in the cylinders.

What is the difference between White Smoke From Exhaust with Diesel Engine and Petrol Engine?

In the table below are the most probable reasons that cause white smoke from Exhaust with Diesel Engine and Petrol Engine.

White smoke means your car needs special attention. It may lead to other serious problems with your vehicle if you don’t fix this on time. That’s why it is recommended to maintain and take care of the engine regularly.


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