Your car’s exhaust pipe guides gas fumes away from the combustion engine, so you will always see a certain amount of smoke in the area. Often, even white smoke means nothing, but sometimes it can alert you to a major issue. Let’s look at some of the reasons you might see white smoke emitting from your car’s exhaust.
Leaking Piston Ring or Valve Seal
If a valve seal has lost its grip or piston rings get worn, they can cause oil to leak into the combustion chamber. This wayward fuel then mixes with other engine elements and burns, causing white or blue smoke to escape from the exhaust manifold. To fix the issue, your best option is to get a professional involved, since the problem could indicate a more complex failure in the cooling system.
Damaged Fuel Injector
If a fuel injector has an O-ring issue or is stuck open, it will allow too much fuel to get into the combustion chamber. Since the extra fuel won’t get burned, it will exit the tail pipe in the form of white or grayish smoke. Replacing the damaged injector or O-ring will repair the issue, and experts will often advise you to change all injectors while you’re at it (finding the one that’s damaged can be time consuming, and these parts are cheap to replace).
If your car has an internal coolant leak, not only will you see white smoke coming out of the exhaust, but you’ll smell a sweet odor. If you suspect a coolant leak, taking your vehicle to a technician right away will ensure no further damage can occur.
Malfunctioning Injector Pump
This one applies only to diesel engines, as their injector pumps can become ill-timed and let the engine run rich. When this happens, unused fuel will get run out of the exhaust system.
Especially in colder climates, outside air will cause steam and condensation to exit the exhaust pipe. Luckily, this white smoke is completely harmless and should go away after the car warms up. If the white smoke continues after a few minutes, however, it might be one of the previously-discussed issues. Whatever the cause, having your car inspected by a professional provides the best chance of diagnosing and repairing any issues.
For all your vehicle’s maintenance and service needs, call the experts at Heath’s Auto Service in Flagstaff at 928-233-9335 and schedule an appointment today!