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Your Car is Smokin’

When smoke is coming from your vehicle one thing is for sure—it’s not good. The tailpipe though is the key to determining the exact cause and how serious the trouble may be. Different colors of smoke can mean that different areas of the vehicle are in distress. Here’s what you need to know if you witness white smoke, black smoke, burning smell coming from your car, or if it is simply steam from a hot engine on a cold day.

Internal combustion engines have many different components that are responsible for helping power the vehicle. The area of the engine where fuel mixes with air, compressed and ignited is known as the combustion chamber. Anytime the combustion chamber has something to burn off, it will be forced out through the tailpipe. Alternately, a small puff of black smoke from diesel-powered vehicles is completely normal because of the air to fuel ratio.

Why Do I Have Steam Coming Out of My Car?

If you see steam-like vapor escaping from the tailpipe, there’s no need to be concerned. Water vapor coming from the tailpipe is completely normal and is a result of condensation building within the exhaust system. Though there may be a slow drip of water from the tailpipe, the steam is quickly dispelled into the air.

white car smokeWhat Does White Smoke Coming From My Car Mean?

White smoke coming from the engine is indicative of trouble within the engine. While there are several different causes, such as coolant entering the combustion chamber, a cracked engine block or cylinder head, or a leaking head gasket, if you notice any smells associated with the smoke, such as a sweet smell, the coolant may be the cause of the smoke. NOTE: If the engine begins to overheat, your vehicle will need immediate attention. Allowing the vehicle to overheat could cause severe and irreversible damage to the engine. However, if you notice a fuel smell associated with the white smoke, there is something amiss with the fuel system controls. It’s important to have a trusted technician perform an inspection to determine whether the fuel injector is faulty, or if the fuel injection and valve timing is off and needs to be readjusted.

Why Is Black Smoke Coming from My Exhaust?

Black smoke indicates that the vehicle is burning too much fuel. Black smoke is often the result of a faulty or leaking fuel injector, broken or damaged fuel pressure regulator, or dysfunctional carburetor. However, it could be something as simple as a clogged air filter or other intake components. Newer vehicles have a check engine light that will come on if the fuel system gets out of the appropriate range. However, it will not illuminate if there is a fuel leak. As a result of the vehicle burning too much fuel, you may notice that your fuel economy decreases significantly. Having this repaired sooner rather than later may save you some money.

Your vehicle’s engine is paramount to moving from point A to B and will require much care to keep it in proper working order. Fortunately, routine maintenance including oil change and regular fluid flushes will ensure your engine continues running smoothly to keep you on the road longer. While vapor or steam coming from the exhaust is completely normal, when smoke is coming from your engine whether it is white, black, grey, or blue and accompanied by a smell or not, it’s troublesome. Be sure to have your vehicle inspected immediately by a trusted technician to determine the cause of the smoke.

Preventative maintenance and repairs are our specialty at Sun Auto Service. You’ll be impressed with the knowledge of our ASE Certified Technicians, our state-of-the-art equipment, and our A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. We guarantee all our work in writing and don’t start any work until you’ve authorized it first. You can trust Sun Auto Service for all your auto needs from simple oil changes to complete transmission rebuilds. We’re the dealership alternative in your neighborhood! Give us a call or stop into any of our convenient service centers today!