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White Smoke From Exhaust: Main Causes and How to Fix

White Smoke From Exhaust: Main Causes and How to Fix
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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 best way to eradicate this disturbing problems. At the end, we also mention some frequent asked questions that are closely related to this issue. Now, let’s go!

What Does White Smoke Mean?

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

White smoke is the issue when your car release white smoke from exhaust pipe. White smoke can be a big problem or not, depend on the thickness. The white smoke is the result of normal condensation which build 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 serious risk of damage to your dear vehicles.

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 dillydallying. 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 in 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, beside 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 seal the manifold to the head. This parts takes the role of distribution the combustion mixture, along with the coolant to 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 create 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

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 with 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 lead 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, driver 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 being introduced into the chamber. For that reason, you will have the water dropping from the tailpipe. Driver 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 driver 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 cause 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.

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 need 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

Tsukasa Azuma

Tsukasa Azuma is an awesome car blogger of Car From Japan. He owns a car repair shop at downtown Osaka, and he put all that experience to good use in her sharing posts. Tsukasa’s blog is one of the best resources for information about keeping your favorite imported car running smoothly. Moreover, because of being passionate to learn about the recent happenings in auto industry, he doesn’t only provide great car maintenance tips, he also always updates latest trends in among car brands and share them in his own interesting viewpoint.

45 thoughts on “White Smoke From Exhaust: Main Causes and How to Fix

  • September 4, 2016 at 4:55 pm
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    It is very helpful pliz highlight on fixing poor rings that causes smoke also

    Reply
  • September 6, 2016 at 1:43 pm
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    Good i like your explanations about how to know various problems in Japanese cars but let me ask how can i get analysis tools

    Reply
  • September 6, 2016 at 4:10 pm
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    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?

    Reply
  • September 6, 2016 at 4:35 pm
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    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

    Reply
  • September 6, 2016 at 6:06 pm
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    Great insights over car issues. Information was helpful.

    Reply
    • September 9, 2016 at 5:17 pm
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      Thank you for your comment. Trevor Zimba

      Reply
  • September 6, 2016 at 7:26 pm
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    Hello
    I thank you good work you’re doing.my names David Kabugo from uganda I would like a cheapest car . engine size between 1300cc and 2000cc any type and model with a sunroof

    Reply
    • September 9, 2016 at 5:17 pm
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      Dear David, here is our stock list for cars from 1300 cc to 2000 cc. http://goo.gl/qFCD6N
      You can send inquiry for the car you like, we will send you total CIF through email. If you have any question, please email to ask@carfromjapan.com

      Reply
  • September 7, 2016 at 9:30 pm
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    Very imformarive thnx .luking fo more

    Reply
  • September 7, 2016 at 10:55 pm
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    Like your educative pieces have really helped me

    Reply
    • September 9, 2016 at 5:00 pm
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      Thank you for your comment. We will keep on posting new useful information.

      Reply
    • September 9, 2016 at 5:05 pm
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      Thank you for your encouragement, we will keep on the good work.

      Reply
  • September 9, 2016 at 10:31 am
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    Could it also be that brake fluid is leaking into the brake booster and getting sucked into the combustion chambers.

    Reply
  • September 9, 2016 at 3:40 pm
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    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?

    Reply
  • September 11, 2016 at 8:16 pm
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    My car is giving a black smoke, heavy one when I start the engine in the morning and can be all day, advice

    Reply
    • September 13, 2016 at 1:48 pm
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      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.

      Reply
  • September 12, 2016 at 12:10 pm
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    Great, n its good to now all type of problems we might face in future

    Reply
  • September 12, 2016 at 12:22 pm
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    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.

    Reply
  • September 12, 2016 at 6:15 pm
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    Best and helpful explanations..

    Reply
    • September 13, 2016 at 1:43 pm
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      Thank you for your feedback. We will keep posting new and useful content.

      Reply
  • September 16, 2016 at 6:47 am
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    #Car from Japan ! thanks for your free fantastic lesson on cars related matters! Sincerely you have transformed me from A to Z on Cars technology issues! Promise not to leave you#carfromjapan

    Reply
  • November 23, 2016 at 4:37 pm
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    Thank your your good work. My car is Toyota rav 4L….the problem it has is that, when you start the car in the morning I must accelerate for about 4 mins…without doing that will not start. Also there is a smell of petrol when you start in the morning coming through the exhoust . what is the solution for this?

    Reply
    • November 30, 2016 at 2:17 am
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      Thank for asking. We will search more information about your question. Please keep following us for some updates

      Reply
  • January 18, 2017 at 11:48 pm
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    My car when parked and the engine is off sometimes it produces a pinging sound which really fascinates me. i do not know where this come from. i suspect the hand break though not sure. this happens during the day when the sun is hot….what could be the problem?

    Reply
    • April 3, 2017 at 1:59 am
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      Thank you for contacting Car From Japan. However, we cannot answer your problem because there are many things we need to see at your car. I suggest you bring the car to a local mechanical shop to solve your problem.

      Reply
  • January 28, 2017 at 4:13 pm
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    Thank you for the information

    Reply
    • February 8, 2017 at 1:54 am
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      We are happy to receive your comments. Please share with your friends so they can enjoy this article, too.

      Reply
  • February 7, 2017 at 11:29 pm
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    Thanks carfromjapan.com for the lessons. I have a Toyota Noah liteace problem of accelerator pedal producing heat and a slight vibration wen driving. Wat could be the problem

    Reply
    • February 8, 2017 at 1:50 am
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      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.

      Reply
  • February 10, 2017 at 6:03 pm
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    hello, am Aziku and may u please post for us the way how we learn how to drive a car.Some of us are still learners and we want to acquire knowledge of how to drive a car. Thank u!

    Reply
  • February 10, 2017 at 9:12 pm
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    thanks.now i will be a senior driver.With you i’m learning mechanic

    Reply
    • February 28, 2017 at 5:20 pm
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      Thank you. We will provide more useful information like this. Stay tuned

      Reply
  • February 11, 2017 at 4:45 am
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    Thank you so much,i for one i appreciate a lot

    Reply
    • February 28, 2017 at 5:15 pm
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      Arigatou. Thank you. Your comments encourage us a lot.

      Reply
  • February 11, 2017 at 11:56 pm
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    THANK YOU JAPAN CAR FOR SHARING INFORMATION.I NEED ACAR RADIO FOR TOYOTA VITZ 2005 MODEL PLEASE INEED HELP WHERE I NEED A NEW ONE.

    Reply
  • February 13, 2017 at 7:11 pm
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    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

    Reply
  • November 21, 2017 at 1:39 pm
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    Why do speedometers in Toyota Town ace Noah’s stop working suddenly.

    Reply
  • November 22, 2017 at 5:01 am
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    am having a spacio vvti 1NZ ,now it damages too much spark plugs what causes this?

    Reply
  • November 23, 2017 at 12:45 am
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    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.

    Reply
  • November 24, 2017 at 4:19 pm
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    Hi
    How about black smoke at the starting of an engine- (petrol car)?

    Reply

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