Car Blowing White Smoke From Exhaust (All You Need To Know)

The exhaust system components work together to make sure that the harmful gasses that the engine is producing are emitted safely from your vehicle. They ensure that the vehicle will get the best fuel mileage in protecting the environment and your health. Your exhaust system is essential to the overall operation of your vehicle. 

Unfortunately, the exhaust system has more problems than the other vehicle components. And many people keep on asking why there is white smoke coming out of the exhaust. You can have your vehicle checked by an expert because certified technicians will know and understand the health of your vehicle based on the color of your exhaust smoke. 

So yes, based on the color of the smoke, there are different meanings. But given that, many car drivers do not know anything about the smoke that is coming out of their exhaust. And many drivers complain about having white smoke from their exhaust. 

It makes them worried that there might be something wrong with their vehicle. But today, you are in luck because we have made this article for you. 

We will discuss the reasons and everything you need to know why your vehicle is billowing white smoke from its exhaust. So let us get started.

Car Blowing White Smoke From Exhaust

Is White Smoke From Exhaust Normal?

Generally speaking, a thin white exhaust smoke similar to water vapor is nothing to worry about. So depending on the temperature on the outside, the condensation will build up inside your vehicle’s exhaust system, and the head heading to the pipes will be creating steam. If the exhaust system is making a which and white smoke, you might have a problem. 

Often, the thick smoke is because of a blown head gasket, a damaged cylinder, and a cracked engine block, causing the coolant to burn. A thick white exhaust smoke means a coolant leak. This can cause overheating and will put your engine at risk.

What Causes White Smoke From Exhaust?

You might be having internal problems. You need to address and fix the issue as soon as possible so that your engine and your exhaust system will not get damaged. Here are the seven of the most common causes of vehicle billowing white smoke from the exhaust pipe.

1. Condensation Burn Off

It can just be the condensation. If this is the cause, the white smoke will disappear for about thirty seconds to one minute.

2. Cracked Cylinder Head

If the cylinder head is damaged, the coolant will leak. It does not have to be a big crack. Just a tiny crack and the coolant can leak out. 

If this happens, the oil will be contaminated. The first sign of having contamination is that there is white smoke out of the tailpipe.

3. Damaged Coolant Reservoir Tank

There can be a leak in your coolant reservoir tank. This is less common, but it happens. You might have to replace the reservoir tank if it is damaged.

4. Oil Leak

If the oil leaks out of your pistons rings or valve seals, it will flow in the internal combustion chamber together with the fuel. If the fuel and the oil mix, they will come out of the tailpipe. Have this checked as soon as possible.

5. Bad Fuel Injector

The fuel injector is the thing that injects fuel into the internal combustion chamber. If you have a bad fuel injector, it will cause white smoke.

6. Engine Control Unit Error

If there is a faulty engine control unit, it will throw off the timing of the fuel injector. This does not mean that the fuel injector is bad. You can unplug your car battery for a few minutes, reset the computer, and fix the issue itself. 

How To Fix White Smoke From Exhaust?

White smoke usually means that the coolant is getting into the combustion chambers of your vehicle. This means that there might be a cracked or leaking head gasket, and this will allow the coolant to seep into your cylinders. You might have to replace your head gasket in extreme cases.

Can I Drive With White Smoke From The Exhaust?

You should not drive your vehicle. If your engine has a failing gasket or a cracked gasket, it can cause contamination or overheat. You have two options. 

You can check the coolant level. If you notice that your level is low, you might have a cracked head gasket or crack. 

White Smoke From The Exhaust When Revving

It can mean that there is condensation in the exhaust pipe. This is a more severe issue caused by an engine coolant leak. 

Excessive white smoke can mean a head gasket failure. You can change the head gasket or have your vehicle checked by an expert.

White Smoke From Exhaust Smells Like Gas

White smoke from an unturned fuel vapor smells like raw gas. However, it can be a water coolant-induced white smoke. 

In rare cases, a hot muffler or a catalytic converter can cause fuel vapors to ignite. Have your vehicle checked by an expert.

Car Blowing White Smoke After An Oil Change

A vehicle blowing white smoke after an oil change can be because of the use of the wrong oil, an excess in the sump, or a valve stem leak. In addition, the vehicle will blow white smoke because of a cracked cylinder or a blown head gasket.

Can Bad Fuel Cause White Smoke?

The injectors will deliver the fuel into the combustion chamber, but it can leak or become stuck in the open position. This means that too much fuel in the engine needs to be expelled or burned off. 

Can Low Coolant Cause White Smoke?

Thick white smoke from the exhaust is because of a crack in the cylinder head, head gasket, or engine block. This can cause constant temperature fluctuations and consistent overheating engines because of low coolant levels.

Does Low Oil Cause White Smoke?

No. There is no relation with the level of the fluid. However, if the oil makes it into the combustion chamber, a blue-tinted smoke comes out of the exhaust.


In summary, the only time that you do not have to worry about the white smoke is if it will clear up within a minute or thirty seconds after starting the engine. If the white smoke stays longer than that, you need to know the actual cause and then fix it. 

Have your vehicle checked by a certified technician. Each reason has a fix. You just have to know the sole reason.



Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more