Taking care of your car is crucial for peaceful commutes and for keeping the roads safe from any accidents that may happen due to technical issues.
There are some common issues that everyone who owns a car knows to check up on regularly, like battery life, oil change, tires, fuel and ignition. However, besides regular checkups, it’s of utmost importance for a driver to keep an eye out for any signs that may indicate a problem.
While most motorists would notice the flashing warning lights, many would miss other less-prominent signs, such as the smoke coming out of the car’s exhaust pipe, due to its position behind the car or because it’s not perceived as problematic as other issues.
That being said, car exhaust smoke can actually be a helpful signal to solve problems in your vehicle before they get out of hand and cause irreversible damage, costing a fortune to fix and notably devaluing your car’s price in the second-hand market.
But how can car exhaust smoke guide you to discovering an issue? Well, there are a few things you should keep in mind, including the color of the smoke coming out from the pipe.
There are many misinterpretations out there about what the shade of the car’s smoke means, ranging from saying that it’s normal for the smoke to be pitch black to that it’s not something you should be worried about.
So, smoke and mirrors aside, here’s what the color of your car exhaust smoke is actually trying to tell you:
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– White Smoke
Most of the time, white smoke is not a warning sign, especially if it’s wintertime and your car is stationed and warming up.
White vapor should stop being visible once your engine clears up any condensation in the engine. In this case, white smoke is a positive indicator, and you should let it happen to avoid rusting the exhaust system.
However, when thick white smoke persists after the engine warms up or during acceleration, it could indicate that the coolant is leaking into the combustion chambers, which can lead to devastating engine failure, so make sure you get your car checked in case this happens.
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– Gray Smoke
Usually, car exhaust releases gray-colored smoke as a sign of a problem with oil piping; your car either is in desperate need of some oil, or its oil is leaking into the combustion chambers and burning with the fuel.
Consider taking a quick look at your oil reserves using the dipstick; if the levels are low, add some oil, but if the oil is discolored and smells burnt, you should get it checked by a professional to solve the issue without further damage.
If you’re driving an automatic car, gray smoke may mean that the automated transmission system’s oil is leaking into the fuel compartments, so keep that in mind as well.
– Blue Smoke
If you have recently gotten your vehicle serviced, you might notice blue smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe from any excess oils burning in the system; it should disappear soon after.
Nonetheless, if you’re driving an older, not-so-well-maintained car, you’re more likely to witness blue smoke emerging from the back of your vehicle like a mystical fume without fading away.
Reasons for blue smoke from the exhaust may vary, including oil that could be coating the exhaust system instead of lubricating its moving parts, leaks in the piston valves which will significantly and negatively impact your car’s fuel efficiency, and malfunctions in the car’s modulator responsible for controlling transmission fluid flow.
It’s crucial that you get your car professionally checked in any of these cases, as some of them may require the engine to be taken apart and reconstructed, a complex process that is definitely not DIY friendly, and you shouldn’t attempt doing it unless you’re qualified.