Why is my Car Smoking?

Your car, truck, or SUV engine is the evolutionary result of over a century of refinement and fine-tuning – a perfected recipe. Today’s manufacturers continue to use tried-and-tested methods, although with more technology crammed in.

This doesn’t stop cars today throwing temper tantrums occasionally. On top of this, the extra tech makes diagnosing potential issues that much harder.

One of the more common engine issues you can face today is uncharacteristic smoke – either from the front or out of the exhaust. To top it off, your thermostat may still show a normal reading. So, what’s going on?

Black smoke from exhaust

Black smoke from the exhaust is a fairly common sight on the roads. Often accompanied by a noticeable gas smell or sometimes a rotten egg smell, it may mean your engine is wasting excess fuel by running too rich (a higher ratio of gas to air during the combustion process). Besides your engine working at a poor efficiency, it can suggest more serious issues such as a blockage in the air intake or a broken spark plug.

Blue smoke from exhaust

Blue smoke is unmistakably oil burning in your combustion chamber – you certainly won’t mistake the smell for something different. Blue smoke is most commonly caused by worn piston rings, and if left unattended, could leave your oil levels critically low.

White smoke from exhaust

Blue smoke is most commonly caused by worn piston rings, and if left unattended, could leave your oil levels critically low.
Excessive white smoke often suggests water is entering places in your engine where it shouldn’t be. Water leaks are sometimes attributed to a broken head gasket, which is fixable, but like everything else, drastically lowers the efficiency of your engine.

Oily-smelling smoke from under the hood

Oil is burning on the outside of your engine – likely on the hot metal surfaces of the block itself. That could mean a leak, which again may lower your engine oil levels if left unattended and cause potential damage. It could also be spilled oil from the last time you had your oil changed. In any case, be careful as burning oil can potentially damage important rubber and plastic in the engine bay.

Electrical smoke

The smell of burning electronics is impossible to miss. Play close attention to your alternator – it could be moments away from problems.

Other smoke from the engine bay

Your engine bay plays host to a lot of fluids. Check your reservoirs for proper fluid levels. Your engine bay plays host to a lot of fluids. If the smoke isn’t oily or electrical, check the reservoirs for your power steering fluid, coolant, brake fluid, etc. A loss of any of these liquids could be critical if left unattended.

Smoke when your engine isn’t overheating isn’t always a big problem, but it’s something you should never ignore. It could be a sign of a more serious underlying issue that’s been unnoticed for a long period of time and could lead to problems with your engine.

Avoiding the Worst Case

Should the worst absolutely happen, it’s good to know your pride and joy doesn’t have to go to scrap. Gearhead Engines supplies professionally remanufactured engines, cylinder heads, transmissions, and more to give a new lease on life for your car, truck, or SUV.

Of course, Gearhead Engines stands by our remanufactured transmissions with a nationwide, fully-transferable, 3-year, unlimited mile warranty and offers no-fault protection add-ons that extend that coverage.