If you see white smoke coming out from the exhaust, do not be alarmed immediately. If the white smoke is thin and evaporates away immediately, it may be caused due to the moisture in the exhaust system. However, if there is continued white smoke emission, then you should inspect your car. The current article analyzes the reasons for white smoke emission and what can be done to resolve the problem.
Causes for White Smoke from Exhaust
Some of the most common causes of white some emission from the exhaust are as follows:
Cracked Cylinder Head
A cracked cylinder head is a common reason for white smoke emission. The most common cause for a cracked cylinder head is overheating. When a cylinder head is damaged, it causes the coolant to enter the cylinder. It can sometimes also enter the internal combustion chamber. When the coolant mixes with fuel, it contaminates it. This can cause white smoke emission that has a sweet odor. Overheating of the engine can occur due to low coolant levels, contaminated coolant, poorly maintained cooling systems, faulty cooling fan, etc. Cylinder heads can naturally get damaged also with the wear and tear over time.
Damaged Coolant Reservoir
Coolant leaks can also cause white smoke emissions. Coolant can leak if your car has a damaged coolant reservoir. While this problem is not common, it can occur if the coolant tank gets damaged. In addition to white smoke, you can also spot a pungent sweet odor that can alert you on potential coolant leakage. You can also spot the coolant reservoir level dropping low in such cases. If you spot all these symptoms simultaneously then it points towards coolant leakage. This problem should be fixed at the earliest as the coolant can mix with engine oil and contaminate it.
You should check the car’s piston rings or valve seals for any oil leakage. In case of any oil leakage, the oil flows to the internal combustion chamber along with the fuel. As the leaked oil and the fuel gets mixed, the combustion will result in white gas emission from the tailpipe. You should get this problem fixed on priority. it will not only cause white smoke emission but also compromise on the lubrication of your car’s engine. This can cause the engine and its components to get worn out and damaged quicker. If left unattended, it will culminate into engine-related problems that will be costlier to repair.
Faulty Engine Control Unit
A problematic engine control unit can also cause white smoke emissions. Such a faulty engine control unit can affect the timing of the fuel injector. However, this does not mean that there is a problem with the fuel injector. You need to visit your mechanic and get the engine control unit fixed to correct the timing of your car’s fuel injector. In most cases, unplugging the car’s battery for a few minutes will reset the computer and resolve this problem. If the problem is not resolved by this, you must take your car to the dealership for getting the problem fixed.
Cracked Engine Block
White smoke can also come out from the exhaust if there is a crack in the engine block. This is one of the worst-case scenarios for your car. The engine block contains the pistons and cylinders. Its primary role is to protect the cylinders of your car. If you are experiencing continuous white smoke emerging from the exhaust, then check the car’s engine block. The white smoke comes out due to emission from the crack in the engine block instead of the tailpipe. If your car has a cracked engine block, you will also experience a considerable loss of power. A cracked engine block is costly to repair compared to other related problems that cause white smoke coming from your car.
What to Do?
If you observe white smoke coming out from the exhaust of your car for prolonged periods, do a basic check-up. This will help you to identify the cause of the problem. However, if you are not aware of the car’s components and their working, it is strongly recommended to get it checked by a professional mechanic. It is important to identify the cause of the problem. It will not only help to resolve the problem of white smoke emission but also prevent any further and serious damage to your car. You can perform the below-mentioned basic checks in case of persistent white smoke emission problems:
Check Coolant Level
The first thing to do is to check the coolant level. While checking the coolant level, always ensure not to open the radiator cap or the coolant reservoir cap when the engine is hot. It can cause severe injuries and burns. You should wait for the engine to cool down before opening the radiator or the coolant reservoir cap. You can use a measuring stick to check the coolant levels. If the coolant levels are satisfactory, then move to the other car parts like cylinder heads, engine block, fuel injector, etc. that can cause the white smoke emission.
Inspect Intake Gasket
Once you have established that the coolant levels are adequate, it is time to move to the inspection of other car parts. You should inspect the intake gasket which seals the manifold to the head. The intake gasket performs the role of disturbing the mixture. If it gets damaged, then the coolant will enter the internal combustion chamber. This will contaminate the fuel and cause white smoke emissions.
If the intake gasket is fine, then move to the inspection of the head gasket. The head gasket plays an important role in sealing the cylinder head. This prevents the coolant from entering the cylinder. If the head gasket is damaged, then the coolant can enter the cylinder and make its way from there to the internal combustion chamber.
In case both the intake gasket and head gasket are good, you must inspect the cylinder head. The cylinder heads are made of aluminum and can get damaged when overheated. This can be a costly repair and you should keep checking the cylinder heads regularly to keep them in good condition.
White smoke emission is not a major problem. You can easily identify the causes and resolve them with some basic troubleshooting. If the problem persists, then you must visit your mechanic for getting the car inspected. Addressing the problem in time helps not only to resolve the problem of white smoke emission but also protects from any further serious damage to the car.
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