What causes white smoke from the exhaust?

Any type of change in the colour of the smoke, white smoke from the 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 the main causes of the 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! 
Have you experienced the “White Smoke From Exhaust” issue?
White smoke is the issue when your car releases white smoke from the 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 a vapour, 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.

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 that beginner drivers should not try. Instead of that, without wasting any time have your car checked by a mechanic.

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 the 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 the 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, the fuel filter is damaged, or the engine is clogged or cracked, white gas exhausts in huge amounts. 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

To fix white smoke from exhaust problem, besides 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 the exhaust
Inside the vehicle, there is a gasket that seals the manifold to the head. These parts take the role of distribution of 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.
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 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 the exhaust pipe. If this part is still fine, we will check the cylinder.

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 causes, 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 the transmission fluid case, the engine is sucking the fluid through a vacuum hose, which leads to the color white from the 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 it 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.
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 the exhaust when stopping or idling, your combustion chambers engine might get oil inside, which causes 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 the exhaust issue.

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