The Different Types of Exhaust Smoke and Their Meanings

Before the 1970’s thick black stuff coming from your vehicle was a good sign showing the vehicle was running fine, but now that type of smoke is usually not a good thing. Automakers cleaned up their act and made sure that vehicles did not spew out this horrible stuff. Usually, when you see the smoke clouds, something is very wrong with the vehicle. However, you might not know what it is or what it means. Here are some tips and ideas if you see smoke.

Black  Vehicle Exhaust

Black is the color that usually means the air to fuel ratio is much lower than it should be. It is not healthy to spit these clouds out, but it can be affordable to fix. Some common causes of this are:

  • Clogged fuel return line – minor and need a new hose for the tank
  • Stuck fuel pressure regulator – minor and can be done in less than four hours
  • Leaking fuel injector – this is more labor involved but the engine is unharmed

White Smoke from Your Car’s Muffler

A lot of times if you see white smoke and it is cold out, since it is MN, it might just be steam from the vehicle warming up against the cold air.  But often white smoke is from coolant leaking into the combustion chamber, which can only hold air and fuel.  Causes might be:

  • Blown head gasket – the engine itself should be okay, but it could take some time and money to repair
  • Cracked cylinder head – a welder might be able to salvage the old one, but usually you have to buy new and the time and cost is high. If you have an old car and this happens, it might be time for a new one
  • Cracked engine block – same goes for this one, it is a costly and lengthy repair

Bluish Gray Smoke Coming From Your Vehicle

Oil is leaking when you see this, and it is not where it is supposed to be. This could be a better sign than having white smoke, though. However, it could mean that one big thing could be wrong and that your vehicle might need a major rebuild to get it back into working condition.

  • Leaking valve seals – the engine might need to be taken a part a bit, but it is a relatively simple and affordable job
  • Stuck PVC valve – this is also inexpensive and easy to fix
  • Worn piston rings – if this fails and the compression test fails, you need a new engine. Once they tear it apart, they want to ensure that they fix other things that come up as well
  • Worn walls in the cylinder – a partial rebuild is necessary for this type of job. It might have to be rebuilt or a new block will be put in

Keep Your Minneapolis Car Protected

Smoke from your exhaust system shouldn’t be ignored.  Knowing these signs with smoke can help you when it comes to finding out what is going on within your vehicle.

As you’re keeping up on your vehicle’s performance, do not neglect the look of your car.  In the Minneapolis area, think about installing car paint protection film from Skip Chips. We can provide a clear coat that protects your paint for years – watching out for the exhaust is up to you.