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Is That Smoke Coming From My Tailpipe?

It can be a scary experience…not to mention nerve racking. Making that daily commute to work and BOOM a huge cloud of smoke starts to for behind your car. The mind starts to race with all the problems that could be causing this situation is my motor dead, has my turbo gone bad and if so how will it cost to fix my turbocharger. Or the even worse situation, I just replaced the turbo…please not again!

The worst part is the install cost like $1000 and your car will be down again for who knows how long. When this happens there is always a silver lining to this cloud of smoke, smoke is not always associated with a thousand dollar repair, it can be something much easier. The first step to understanding the issue is to look at the color of the smoke itself. When the smoke is black it is fuel not being burnt correctly, white means that the coolant is burning off and blue means oil is burning.

Now that the color of the smoke can be understood it can be worked out and fixed. When it comes to a newly installed turbo it may be residual oil left from the old turbo’s failure. Oil from a bad turbo will build up in the lowest point in the system and in a turbo intake system that is the intercooler. The intercooler is the unit at the front area of the car where the air travels across to disperse the heat created by the turbocharging process. When the old oil has pooled in the intercooler the extremely high pressure air can push it into the intake of the car and it will burn off in the engine. Oil smoke is very potent and just one drop can fill up a room with enough smoke to choke someone. It is easy to imagine that a quart of oil would take a long time to burn and will also coat oxygen sensors and valves cause in future issues. The main thing to remember when there is an issue with your car is to take a breath and remember that it is not the end of the world. Even though it may feel that way, if you step back and think it may be something as easy as a coolant hose that has a crack.

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