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White Smoke From Exhaust: Main Causes and How to Fix

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White Smoke From Exhaust: Main Causes and How to Fix
4.5 (90.24%) 168 votes

Any type of change in the color of the smoke, white smoke from exhaust, for example, is surely a sign that there is a problem with your beloved car. The severity could be varying depending on the type of smoke. The problem might be caused by condensation gathering and may not have any apparent implications. But drivers need to understand, what does white smoke mean? In this article, Car From Japan experts will give you a clear answer about main causes of white smoke issue and the best way to eradicate these disturbing problems. In the end, we also mention some frequently asked questions that are closely related to this issue. Now, let’s go!

What Does White Smoke Mean?

Have you experienced the “White Smoke From Exhaust” issue?

White smoke is the issue when your car releases white smoke from exhaust pipe. White smoke can be a big problem or not, depending on the thickness. The white smoke is the result of normal condensation which builds up inside the exhaust system. So if it is thin like vapor, there is nothing to worry about since it will disappear quickly. On the other hand, thicker smoke is a pretty big issue.

Thick smoke usually comes from the faulty in engine coolant, which could lead to many serious problems like damaged cylinder head, blown head gasket, cracked engine block… which might cost drivers quite a lot. In this situation, we suggest to not ignore it. A coolant leak, even small, can lead to the serious risk of damage to your dear vehicles.

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What Your Car Trying To Tell You By White Smoke From Exhaust

White smoke from exhaust that looks like thin wisp is the topic for today. And not as scary as it looks, white smoke should not be a matter of concern. The accumulated condensation is simply finding a way out of the pipe.

Broken Fuel Pumping Injection

Car white smoke problem
White smoke most common reason is a broken injection.

Does your car run on diesel? If the answer is positive and if lots of white smoke comes out when starting the engine, it means the fuel pumping injection timing has stopped working.

Checking the injection or changing it on your own is not a recommendation from us since this task requires a lot of skills which beginner drivers should not try. Instead of that, without wasting any time have your car checked by a mechanic.

     SEE MORE:

Leaking Coolant

White smoke leaking coolant
Leaking coolant might be a reason why your car smoke is white

Another white smoke issue is the leaking coolant. The indication is apparent when white smoke appears while the car is running, but not when you start it.

The reason for this type of white smoke is due to burning coolant that somehow got mixed up. Or else, when your car is lacking coolant, the car may heat up and exhaust white smoke. For that reason, understanding car’s temperature is also very important. Don’t run the car when it’s low on coolant – as that may cause something severer.

Problems From Other Parts

white smoke problems
Problems from other small car parts can also cause white smoke.

Often times, a lot of white smoke exhaustion, when the car is running, could be an indicator of expensive and complicated issues. When the cylinder head, head gasket, fuel filter is damaged, or the engine is clogged or cracked, white gas exhausts in huge amount. Fixing or replacing these parts may be expensive.

The problem with such an issue is that you cannot be dilly-dallying. As time goes by they take a severer shape and the cost of repair goes up outright. Regular maintenance helps you to trace out such a problem at the soonest and saves you some valuable cash.

How To Fix White Smoke From Exhaust Issue

In order to fix white smoke from exhaust problem, besides from taking it to the repair shop, you can do it at home:

Step 1: Inspect The Intake Gasket

Intake gasket
Intake gasket is the first part to check when you have white smoke from exhaust

Inside the vehicle, there is a gasket that seals the manifold to the head. These parts take the role of distribution the combustion mixture, along with the coolant to the separated intake port. These ports will be placed in the cylinder heads. You must have understood this now: If it gets damaged, the coolant will get into the port and combustion chamber, creating white smoke while driving.

In order to fix it, drivers have to remove the intake manifold and examine the intake gasket. If there is any leak or rust, you know where to repair. If it is fine, we move to step number 2.

Step 2: Examine Further To Check The Head Gasket

Head gasket
Head gasket is also needed some attention

Remember to only perform this step when the intake gasket is working fine. After that, we will come to the head gasket.

This is a car part that seals the cylinder head in order to prevent the coolant from getting to the cylinder. Any leak or damage in this part creates an opportunity for the coolant to enter the chamber. Long story short, it will create white smoke from exhaust pipe. If this part is still fine, we will check the cylinder.

          SEE MORE:

Step 3: Look For Any Crack In The Cylinder Head

white smoke fix
Don’t forget the cylinder head

The cylinder head is the car part that made of aluminum, which is prone to breaking in overheated conditions. This part is essential since it connects to the engine block and head gasket. Sad news for car owners: If this part is broken or damaged in any way, you have to change it.

Frequently Asked Question about White Smoke From Exhaust

Why My Car Has White Smoke From Exhaust When Starting?

White smoke can be caused by many reasons. But if you get white smoke from exhaust at startup, it might be from these reasons:

  • A cracked or warped cylinder head.
  • Head gasket failure
  • Cracked engine block

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

What Causes White Smoke From Exhaust When Accelerating?

The answer is either transmission fluid or burning coolant.

In transmission fluid case, the engine is sucking the fluid through a vacuum hose, which leads to the color white from smoke. The exhaust will also have a burned oil smell. If the white smoke is coolant, your car is definitely having a crack in the cylinder head or a leaky head gasket, along with a sweet smell.

In this situation, you can pressure test the cooling system if the coolant is low or the engine has been overheating. If it does not, your vehicle is mostly having a leaking gasket. You need to replace in order for it to work normally again.

When the fluid is the problem, drivers can fix by replacing the transmission vacuum modulator valve. Also, notice its level: If it is low, you can add the required type of fluid to restore the level.

What Causes White Smoke From Exhaust Smells Like Gas?

Drivers must understand the concept of smoke from cars. Usually, it is water vapor or steam, since it is introduced into the chamber. For that reason, you will have the water dripping from the tailpipe. Drivers can also see the water in the fuel or a leak in the head gasket.

You might think it is normal, but that is the engine misfiring and pushing raw fuel out. In those cases, the car will be running rough and drivers can smell a raw fuel smell.

In order to fix this, just check the fuel and replace if necessary.

What Causes White Smoke From Exhaust When Idle?

If you have white smoke from exhaust when stopping or idling, your combustion chambers engine might get oil inside, which cause them to burn off the exhaust. This will cause white smoke, along with the idle issue. This is very easy to recognize since there is a difference between burning gasoline explosion and a burning oil explosion.

This problem should be fixed soon since the longer the oil stays inside, the more damage it causes for the spark plugs, which might require replacement.

What Causes White Smoke From Exhaust When Cold?

In the cold weather, the white smoke can be quite normal, but in some situations, it is not. Continuous white smoke while driving is one of them. If you are having a diesel, white smoke may be unburned fuel or coolant going through the engine. But mostly, it is the incorrect injector timing in the cylinders.

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

White smoke from exhaust diesel and petrol engine may be the signal of different car problems. Let’s check out these probable reasons that cause white smoke from exhaust issue.

 DiagnosisCommon Causes
Diesel Engine
Leaking coolant or water dripping into combustion chamber• Bad head gasket
• Cracked block or cylinder head
Petrol EngineIncomplete air/fuel
mixture
• Faulty fuel injection system
• Incorrect fuel injection and valve timing
• Engine overheating
• Faulty fuel pump and/or injection pump

Conclusion

White smoke from exhaust
White smoke from exhaust is something drivers should not ignore.

There is no room for overlooking the white smoke issue. Not only white smoke affected other vehicles, it also means your car is in trouble that needs special attention. It may cause problems for you and the other drivers if you don’t fix this before driving.

Yet again, all car owners need to do is to keep calm in order to cure their dear vehicles. For that reason, always taking care of your engine is highly recommended.

To understand more about the vehicle smoking problem, check this video

Most of the cars from Japanese brands like Toyota, Honda, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Nissan, BMW,… are produced with good engines and high-quality accessories to avoid white smoke from exhaust. Go for a Japanese car to avoid this bad situation.

72 Comments
  1. Stephen says

    It is very helpful pliz highlight on fixing poor rings that causes smoke also

  2. David says

    Good i like your explanations about how to know various problems in Japanese cars but let me ask how can i get analysis tools

  3. Peter Karani says

    Good points of alot of help. Keep it up.

    Question;
    Can the Air Cleaner Senser make it hard to start a vehicle if its not exactly the same type?

  4. Tinkamanyire Jonan says

    The car is normally serviced when it reaches the recommended speedometer is due or when u feel it has been packed for quite long not been in use , its recommended to take it for servicing.however you may be over using your vehicle which therefore suggests that even if the stipulated time hasn’t reached you can take it for servicing

    1. lan says

      Thank you for your comment. Jonan

    2. Robert says

      No it doesn’t

    3. gideon says

      i have KB 300 XL DC 4X4 Idrive alot then suddenly he give a heavy white smoke lose power die then around 20 min it starts again like nothing happenend need help plz 2001/2 model

  5. Trevor Zimba says

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    1. lan says

      Thank you for your comment. Trevor Zimba

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    1. lan says

      Thank you for your comment.

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  9. Garth says

    Could it also be that brake fluid is leaking into the brake booster and getting sucked into the combustion chambers.

  10. Joseph Brian says

    Hi I drive a Toyota vanguard 2010 and after a month or so after servicing it the oil drains it doesn’t have any leakage nor is editing white smoke. What would be the problem?

  11. Abass Hajir says

    My car is giving a black smoke, heavy one when I start the engine in the morning and can be all day, advice

    1. lan says

      Thank you for your comment. We will write an article about black smoke in near future. Meanwhile, please visit your nearest mechanic for car maintenance.

  12. mohd faiyaz deand says

    Great, n its good to now all type of problems we might face in future

  13. mohd faiyaz dean says

    Hi,i got Toyota liteace diesel van n its gives white smoke while driving what can be the problem,,, I have already serviced the vehicle n it still doing the same.

  14. Goodluck Kombe says

    Best and helpful explanations..

    1. lan says

      Thank you for your feedback. We will keep posting new and useful content.

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    1. Trang Tran says

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  19. Blessing Dosvora says

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    1. Trang Tran says

      Thank you for contacting Car From Japan. However, we cannot answer your problem because there is many things we need to see at your car. I suggest you to bring the car to a local mechanical shop o solve your problem.

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  24. Washington Chitala says

    Ever since i started reading these pieces i learned a lot. Many things i was wrongly informed have been cleared out and i thank you very much. got lots of questions and suggestions for many topics. unfortunately i read this particular piece about white smoke a little too late as my Mazda B2500 SDX TD just broke down after giving white smoke for sometime. Now the engine has ceased

  25. Muyoya Chaona says

    Why do speedometers in Toyota Town ace Noah’s stop working suddenly.

  26. obby musonda says

    am having a spacio vvti 1NZ ,now it damages too much spark plugs what causes this?

  27. Elton Kufakosaleka says

    Am Elton from Malawi. I would like to know. What would be the cause if the car with automatic transmission gear is put on Drive or reverse gears but fails to move or accelerate at the same timecfails to increase the revolution while at low speed.

  28. Alex says

    Hi
    How about black smoke at the starting of an engine- (petrol car)?

  29. Shabir Roshan says

    Hi dear I own a Toyota auris 2011 Diesel engine. Yesterday when i fill my fuel tank and after a few minutes driving all of a sudden a huge black smoke came from exhaust for a minute or so and then it disappeared and my car was running like normal. Is there anything to worry or it’s just normal. thanks in advance.

  30. Aiden says

    If you have white smoke coming out how long can you drive for?

  31. David says

    My car is blowing white smoke while driving and almost stalling just when I poured the Blue Devil Oil Stop leak. Is that normal? Does it need to run its course first?

  32. Amin says

    Thanks, very informative

  33. Benjamin Wamusiru says

    Thank you so much for your regular informative messages. Could you kindly repeat for us the causes of car vibrations. My car is automatic transmission and it vibrates seriously when I engage R or drive gears. The mechanics have checked engine mountings and plugs and say they are in good condition. What could be the other causes of vibrations?

  34. Edward K says

    My car delays in engaging gears especially when i try to accelerate. Its a toyota premio, limited edition. What could be the problem?

  35. Joshua Brayton Joshua says

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  37. Samson Mwile says

    Info is very helpful. Thanks

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  39. […] White Smoke From Exhaust […]

  40. Md. Mainul Islam says

    Hi
    I am Automotive Mechanics !! it was very much helpful to us for learning !!! so many cars comes to us regarding this problems !! this article will help us very much !! thanks for great articles !!

    Thanks and regards

    Md. Mainul Islam

  41. Chico says

    Hi guys am having a bmw e46 2002 model 320d manual 5 speed gear box it over heated and blow the coolant tank I replaced it I drove k for 120km it over heated again but it mix water n oil it lost power n iddle rough like engine is rattling and miss firing not fully revving what could be the problem pls I need advice as ASAP

  42. […] White Smoke From Exhaust […]

  43. Austin says

    Piston rings cause mine to blow white smoke it was from burning oil if that helps anybody

  44. […] is no room for overlooking the white smoke issue. Not only white smoke affected other vehicles, but it also means your car is in trouble that needs […]

  45. […] White Smoke From Exhaust […]

  46. […] White Smoke From Exhaust […]

  47. […] White Smoke From Exhaust […]

  48. Ashok kumar says

    I have a ford figo car. My car run without engine oil .when I put engine oil in car after few dasya it exhaust white smoke.what is the reason for that. How I fix it

  49. Mrs Meher Banon Gokhool says

    Hi we have a toyotace year 06 with 2KD motor on it. Its making only 40 km/hour, its stalling and making white smoke. Please help.

  50. rentalcars1211 says

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  51. shiftcarrental.com says

    Informative piece of content.. Keep posting such informations in future as well.
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  52. […] White Smoke From Exhaust […]

  53. Feisal says

    Hi,i just bought a mini cooper s 2011 from japan..I have not serviced the car cos am waiting for the service kit to arrive…went out with it for a test..when the car is on for long and it is in idling and a/c is on I think there is a smell of water .and when I start moving white smoke comes out of the exaust and after a few minutes the smoke stops…help me plz what is wrong with the car

  54. Albert G says

    Dear expert,
    I have prado TZ recently my engine having wired situation whereby sometimes rpm slowly drop and white smoke followed by thick black smoke after breking normally happen during stopping at traffic light, and sometimes its normal. After the rpm drop and thick smoke situation basically i turning off the engine and restart back the engine and its running back normally…any specific causes of this situation on your experiences since it can’t be detected using fault finder analyser…AG

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