Exhaust Smoke

Car Exhaust Smoke: Here’s What It Can Mean

When your car starts smoking profusely, is it an immediate sign of danger? Or is it nothing more than long overdue maintenance? Knowing is always better than guessing, and here is what you can do about it.

Seeing Is Believing

The worst day of your life is having to pull over in the middle of a busy commute. Car exhaust smoke is a big sign that you need service at Ann Arbor auto repair. The problem with seeing the smoke is that you are well past the point of resolving the problem without incident. It’s not a sign to panic, but it is a warning of what’s to come without immediate action. Pulling over and turning off the vehicle is the first thing you should do when car exhaust smoke is out of control. Control the situation immediately, and the percentage of a complete breakdown decreases. 


Black smoke means fuel is being excessively burnt from the system. This is an expensive problem that makes good gas mileage impossible. If the selling point of your vehicle was its gas mileage, then black smoke is the last thing an owner wants to see. Clogs in one of the main systems will be the most common cause of this problem. The only way to be sure about the damage is to get a checkup, sooner rather than later. 


White smoke coming from a car is normal, especially in the wintertime. Thickness is how you identify bad white smoke from the normal one. A blown gasket, cracked engine block or damaged cylinder are common causes for thick white smoke. The color of the smoke comes from a coolant leak in your car, and is a very serious mechanical problem. Avoid driving your car when thick white smoke is coming from the exhaust or you’ll cause wallet breaking damage. 


Gray smoke from the exhaust is one of the most difficult problems to diagnose. You’ll definitely need a professional for this one, and like thick white smoke, the car should not be driven. Oil and transmission fluid issues are normal culprits. But gray smoke can also point to the PCV valve or the turbocharger. The good news is that the color gray can point to a minor inexpensive fix. The bad news is that it has an equal chance to be an expensive fix, especially for truck or SUV owners. 


Burning oil will cause blue smoke to come from the exhaust. Since this is directly related to the engine, vehicle owners should take this damage seriously. An easy way to see if this is a problem is to check your oil levels. If they are low, then you have a general idea of the problem with your vehicle. Blue smoke always requires immediate attention. Driving with blue smoke is an easy way to permanently damage your vehicle. 

Take Care of Your Vehicle

Don’t stress out over the small things. Car exhaust smoke is not always a sign of something unfixable. Keep your vehicle in top shape, and let luck take care of the rest.