The gas coming from the exhaust of a car should almost always be clear in color, with the exception of diesel at times of heavy use. When there is smoke coming from the exhaust system of a vehicle, it signals an issue with the internal workings of the motor. This is a very noticeable symptom of failure in the engine. White, black or blue smoke can be emitted from the exhaust system with each color indicating a specific problem. What do these signs mean?
Exhaust Smoke colors and their inferences:
White smoke: This smoke is created when the engine is burning excessive amounts of coolant or water. This smoke can be created by condensation in the internal areas of the motor or if there is a leak where the coolant is entering the piston. The white smoke may also be due to the leakage of anti-freeze or transmission fluid.
Remedy: Check for any leakage in coolant or transmission fluid and ensure that all fluid levels are at their recommended optimum.
Black smoke: This occurs when the combustion of the fuel is not burnt completely. In other words there was too much fuel and it continued burning into the exhaust side of the engine. This is why black smoke is emitted with a powerful fuel odor.
Remedy: Check the oil dipstick to check if the excess fuel has mixed with your oil. Check your manufacturer's manual to confirm whether you are using the right grade of fuel.
Blue smoke: This is created when oil is burned in the cylinder that occurs generally when the engine is idling or running at high speeds. Oil can leak from many sources and when it reaches the cylinders it is burned off during the combustion stroke of the motor. The oil smoke carries a telltale odor.
Remedy: Check for sources of oil leakages in your vehicle. These could be due to leaky valves, O-rings and gaskets.
The color of the smoke is a good starting point in diagnosing the problems in your engine, but it is a good idea to have a trusted mechanic take a long look at the vehicle.
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