Engine Exhaust, Its Colors, and Your Car

Engine exhaust isn’t something most people think about until they see it. You might think that a little exhaust is normal and, in some cases, it is. Excess exhaust isn’t, however, and how the exhaust looks can tell you its origin – basically, what is causing it. In a previous blog, we here at Auto Solutions discussed the different colors of automotive fluids. Now, let’s talk about the different colors of engine exhaust.

But I Don’t See Any Exhaust! It Doesn’t Have a Color!

It’s a good thing if you can’t see your engine exhaust. You might see steam coming out of your car, truck, CUV, or SUV’s tailpipe when it’s cold outside, but you shouldn’t see exhaust all the time, even if you drive a diesel-powered vehicle. Clear and odorless exhaust means things are a-okay, at least from an exhaust system standpoint. There are other signs you have car trouble that do not include the exhaust.

Black Smoke Coming Out of the Tailpipe

If your automobile is burning gasoline you will see black smoke coming out of the tailpipe. If it’s burning a lot of gasoline, you might see flames coming out of the tailpipe, too. In either case, pull over immediately and kill the ignition. Excessive black smoke from the tailpipe or underneath the hood signal fire somewhere, so it’s best to put a safe distance between you and your car and call for help.

Blue Smoke Coming Out of the Tailpipe

Burning oil causes blue smoke to exit the tailpipe and this, too, is dangerous, but more for your automobile than you. Your engine will not burn off oil, i.e. ignite it so you see blue smoke coming from the tailpipe or from underneath the hood, unless the oil is leaking onto hot engine parts. Excessive blue smoke coming out of the tailpipe is usually the sign of vehicle death. You have a serious leak somewhere.

White Smoke Coming Out of the Tailpipe

Excessive white smoke coming out of the tailpipe or from underneath the hood is also a sign of death usually. As with the oil leak, if radiator coolant is introduced to engine parts, it will burn and produce white exhaust. In most cases, the coolant is being introduced onto the hot engine because your head gasket is cracked. This is an expensive repair that oftentimes isn’t worth the cost in older automobiles.

Bring your vehicle into Auto Solutions today if you have exhaust trouble. We’re located in Orlando, FL, and you can call us to set up an appointment at 407-494-6950.

Photo by Animaflora from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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