If you see excessive white smoke blowing out of the exhaust, you should have the car inspected as soon as possible. Although white smoke is common and completely harmless, it could be a sign of a major problem. Thick white smoke is pretty a bigger issue. Here are 5 causes of white smoke coming from the exhaust.
1. Coolant leak
When you see white smoke when the car is running, the coolant could be leaking. The exhaust pipe leaves a sweet pleasant smell in the air. To prevent further damage, you should open the hood and inspect if there’s any coolant in the engine compartment. You may also want to monitor the coolant level in the radiator.
Check the cooling system pressure to pinpoint where the leak could be coming from. Next, look for any visible cracks and hose connections to ensure nothing stops the radiator’s cooling efficiency. If the problem continues, you may have to replace the faulty coolant tank/container.
Sometimes, the coolant can overheat in high temperatures and pour out of the reservoir. And when it gets into contact with the metal parts, white smoke is produced. You may want to keep an eye on the temperature gauge to ensure the coolant doesn’t overheat. Be sure to fix this problem immediately because the coolant can easily contaminate the engine oil giving it a milky appearance.
2. Bad fuel injector
White smoke can be a sign of injector problems. This is a common problem with diesel cars. For the engine to function properly, the engine needs precise timing of the injector pump. If there’s a decrease in pressure, this could delay fuel delivery in the combustion chamber. The result is incomplete combustion which leads to a cloud of white smoke. In addition to that, the engine is a lot louder than normal. That being said, the best action is to repair or replace the faulty injector. And depending on the car’s mileage, the mechanic may recommend replacing all the injectors. Don’t change the fuel injector on your own as one wrong step could be disastrous to your car.
Condensation can make the oil to mix with small amounts of water. Just like water vapor, the smoke can be thin or thick. As the engine heats up, the white smoke will slowly disappear. This is nothing to worry about, especially when it’s cold out there. You’ll also notice this problem if you relocate to a cold area.
4. Oil leak
A bad valve cover or piston ring can cause the engine oil to leak to the exhaust manifold. Once the fuel and the engine oil mixes, the result is white smoke. You may want to fix this problem very fast. When the engine components are not lubricated properly, the parts will get work out quickly. Of course, you may end up with costly repairs.
5. Cracked/damaged cylinder head
Although this is rare, white smoke from the exhaust can be a sign of a cracked cylinder head. Once this happens, the coolant gets into the cylinders or combustion chamber causing a cloud of white smoke. Since the cylinder head connects the engine blocks with the gasket, you have to replace it once it gets damaged.
You don’t have to worry if you see white smoke coming from the exhaust after starting your car engine. But if it lasts for longer, that could a sign of an underlying problem. Make sure you consult a professional to fix the issue for you.