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Oil Coming Out of Exhaust And 5 Ways to Troubleshoot

Fuel system issues comprise of nearly 70,000 common car problems reported to U.S. Department of Transportation for cars manufactured from 1996 to 2019, making it the 7th most common car problem area. One day you might find yourself confused finding oil coming out of exhaust pipe. Fearing this is a big deal, you jump right at checking your car’s exhaust pipe and find nothing. So what is really the problem? 

Don’t panic. The issue is actually quite common for used cars, and there are ways to troubleshoot this issue of oil leak in an exhaust pipe, even easily fix it at home without professional examination. In fact, oil leakage from exhaust pipes poses possible problems somewhere else. Follow these 5 clearly explained steps to detect how oil can get into the exhaust system. 

How to Troubleshoot the Problem of Oil Coming Out of Exhaust

Don’t panic when you found oil coming out of exhaustThere are several ways to diagnose this problem and reach for a solution. And in this article, we will even give you 5 solutions! Let’s discuss some common ways to pinpoint the troubling component.

Examine The End of Exhaust Pipe

Oil Leaking From Exhaust
Black soot can form an oil-like liquid. (photo source: Shutterstock)

Sometimes, the leaked oil coming from exhaust might not be oil at all! The exhaust pipe can usually the main source of this problem. If you are a lazy car owner and haven’t cleaned it for years, beside from our maintenance tips, we suggest checking the outside of the pipe. Since it usually collects soot and the layer could be pretty thick. Mixed with that soot, the condensation coming out of the car exhaust could form an oil-like liquid.

But worry not, driver can fix this issue very easy. All you need to do is wearing a glove and running a finger on the inside of the pipe to see if there’s soot.

Congested PVC Valve

oil coming out of exhaust
Driver should also notice the PVC Valve (photo source: porkercon/Youtube)

As we all know, internal engine gases travel to the combustion chambers through the PVC valve. When it’s clogged, the growing amount of gas volume creates pressure on the engine. This will forces the oil to pass several seals and into the exhaust pipe.

The warning signs for this kind of oil coming out of exhaust problem are bluish smoke and oil-smeared spark plugs. In order to fix this, car owners can replace the valve. This is an easy solution to address the problem.

Ruptured Head Gaskets

oil coming out of exhaust
Head gasket can also take responsibility for the oil coming out of exhaust

Being a part of the exhaust system, these act as a seal between the engine heads and the block. A blown gasket lets one or more fluids to get past the seals and mixed into the exhaust stream. So if you find oil coming out of exhaust, this could be a place to take a look.

The symptoms are the overheated engine, reduced engine performance, and excessive fuel burning. You have to change the defective gasket(s) to bring the system back to normal.

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Worn Valve Guides

oil coming out of exhaust
The oil coming out of exhaust could be from exhausted gas (photo source: Youtube)

Valve guides control the gas flows into and out of the engine. They have seals around their shafts that may wear out with time. In the case, the engine oil leaks and runs into the exhaust gases. You will detect bluish smoke coming out of the tailpipe if this problem occurs.

Watch Out The Smoke Colors

The colors of the tailpipe smoke are good signs to detect the type of oil coming out of exhaust problem.

Black smoke refers to unburnt fuel, which means that the engine fails to burn one or two combustion catalyst. Gray or bluish smoke means the leaking of engine oil into the internal combustion chamber.

On the other hand, white smoke requires a thorough examination of the engine. The problem could lie in the combustion chamber or because of faulty piston oil rings.

oil coming out of exhaust
Oil coming out of exhaust can also be noticed by the color of smoke (photo source: Legoheads/Youtube)

Oil coming out of exhaust pipe is a fairly common issue for cars with a long usage history. As a vehicle’s mileage increases, more worn parts can be found, thus frequent maintenance or checking is vital to ensure safe and hassle-free driving. This is also a factor worthy of consideration when deciding to buy used cars. 

Are you ready to take care of your baby more seriously and enjoy his well-running state while saving time and money going to local mechanic shops?

Not an expert on machineries? Worry not! Check out our comprehensive guide on car maintenance with easy to understand step-by-step instructions and illustrative images to become familiar with your vehicles, inside and out, and gain confidence in taking good care of them at your own home. 

13 Comments
  1. Victor Luke says

    thank you very much i think thats what happened with my car.

  2. Aubrey says

    My car is taking out white smoke at the exhaust and when I stopped I sow oil coming out of exhaust.what myb the problem?

  3. Derrick says

    Very informative post.

    Thank you!

  4. Piet says

    Hi there my problem is my car oil coming from exhaust pls I need help to know what is problem

  5. James says

    If i park my car for a week it.has hard starts but if the weather is warm it Will start. What might be the cause

    1. Alex says

      If car uses a cold start sensor that can be a problem

  6. Bapu says

    My wagon R giving black smoke too much ,oil level deficits 1 litter per 300 km,engine is remake now.problem is not solved.

  7. Sohail says

    Dear my Nissan qashqai giving white smoke at start. Went to mechanic as it started missing mechanic changed all plugs and replaced one coil.now smoke is not coming but when I start I seen signs of oil drip from exhaust.
    Pls reply

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  9. nick says

    i have an audi a5 sportline 2010, recently my oil warning lights up and need to add no more than 1lt of oil…i noticed after a while if i drive it hard in sport mode i need to fill oil every 400 to 600kms….if i drive it normal i have to re-fill at around 1000kms….i know something is wrong…took it to audi and they ran tests…said they will need to open up the engine….can this be a costly procedure

  10. George Rehn says

    “Valve guides control the gas flows into and out of the engine.” Ah, I thought that was the job of the valves, valve train, and camshaft. The job of valve guides is to do just that, guide(control) the valves(lateral movement) as well as provide a bearing surface for the valve’s stem. I am not going to nit pick other parts of this article, but I will mention that as a retired automotive technician, rebuilder, and former shop owner with over 45 years of combined experience it is things like this, as well as design issues, that have had me often cussing automotive engineers. But I will add, I enjoy reading this blog and the posts and I always learn something!

  11. Jerome says

    Hi, my carbureted car is at idle. After few seconds, it begins to have a rough idle and when I rev it (first rev), there’s a white smoke that cones out from the exhaust. This also happens even the engine is in normal operating temp. On traffic. I suspect that it may have some dried oils within the pipes. But why it only happens when revving at idle period? Thank you in advance! I hope you could help me on this matter.

  12. zam says

    driving a polo 1.6 hatch 2009 oil water reservoir mixing with oil not mixing in the engine my car does not have oil cooler and ive jst done cylinder head and pressure test but there was no problem what could be the couse?????

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