Smoking Is Bad For Your Car’s Health – Part 1

28 06 2012

Dale BertramIf your vehicle has a smoking problem it needs to be looked at right away by your automotive service and repair professional!  Not only is your car trying to tell you something is wrong, others sharing the road with you will find a smoking car offensive.

Here is a list of what white smoke coming from your car indicates:

White Steam
On a chilly morning it is perfectly normal for your vehicle to have whitish steam coming from the exhaust.  You do not need to worry about this at all.

If you have whitish steam coming from under the hood you need to turn off your vehicle immediately.  Most likely this means your cooling system is overheating.  A sweetish smell is also a sure sign.

If this happens to you here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Pull over as soon as possible so the engine can cool down.
  • Open the hood to allow the steam to disperse.
  • DO NOT open the radiator cap until the engine is cool or you will get a steam burn!
  • Check the coolant tank and fill if needed if you happen to have coolant and water with you and you feel confident that you are doing it correctly.  Some cars don’t have a tank but just the radiator.  If this is the case allow the radiator to completely cool before you check the coolant level.
  • If you were not able to refill the reservoir it is best to get your vehicle towed.  If you feel you must drive it or are close by a repair shop, be sure to drive with the air conditioning turned off and the heater turned on full blast.  This takes the heat away from the engine.  Do not attempt to drive it in stop and go traffic, however.

White Smoke
If your vehicle is blowing white smoke out the exhaust it has serious health problems!

  • Cracked cylinder head – This was usually preceded by a recent overheating problem followed by coolant burning.  This usually means your engine will need to be rebuilt.
  • Warped cylinder head – Coolant is leaking beyond the head gasket into the combustion chamber and generally has the same outcome as a cracked cylinder head.
  • Blown head gasket – When the gasket stops working properly it fails to keep the coolant separate from the oil and combustion chamber.
  • Cracked engine block – Coolant flows through the cracks into the combustion chamber.
  • Stuck fuel injector – This causes a cylinder washout.

Next week we will cover blue and black smoke!  To prevent your vehicle smoking make sure it is serviced at the proper intervals to keep it healthy.

Happy Motoring!






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