What the Color of Your Car's Exhaust Smoke May Be Telling You

by Ernest Perez

It is possible for you to tell when something is amiss with your car if you have had it for some time. This is because you develop "a feel" for its normal state and when something changes then you can quickly notice the change. One of the things that can change is the color of your car's exhaust smoke. This article discusses some colors of exhaust smoke that you should investigate.

Black Smoke

Black exhaust smoke is an indicator that your car is not burning fuel properly. An air filter may be clogged so there is very little air available to mix with the fuel in order for complete combustion to take place. Faulty fuel injectors and clogged fuel return lines can also cause this problem. It is important to have this problem fixed because it has an adverse effect on the fuel economy of your car.

Grey Smoke

Several factors can cause grey smoke to come out of your car's exhaust pipe. For instance, the automatic transmission fluid may have leaked into the car engine and it is now being burnt along with the fuel. An engine oil leak can also cause this grey smoke. A faulty turbocharger (if your car has one) could also be responsible for causing this kind of smoke.

Blue Smoke

Blue smoke is a "smoking gun" pointing to oil getting into the combustion chamber of the engine. The seals on the piston rings wear out and create room for the oil lubricating the engine to leak into the combustion chamber. This oil then mixes with fuel in the combustion chamber and is burnt along with fuel. You can confirm this problem by observing the oil level in your car. If it keeps dropping yet there is no visible leak underneath the car then that oil is reducing because it is leaking into the combustion chamber.

White Smoke

Thin wisps of white smoke should not cause any alarm because they are signs of condensation that is being expelled from the car. This is particularly true when you first start your car (such as in the morning). If you continue seeing this white smoke long after you first started the car then coolant may be leaking and getting burnt. Other causes of white smoke are cracked engine blocks, defective cylinder heads or blown cylinder head gaskets.

You should take your car to a mechanic as soon as you notice smoke fitting the descriptions above coming from the exhaust. That will enable the mechanic to fix any problem before it causes further damage.