Why Is My Exhaust Smoke A Strange Color? Our Auto Experts Explain

Why Is My Exhaust Smoke A Strange Color? Our Auto Experts Explain

So what does the color of your exhaust smoke mean? Our ASE-certified technicians explain what the color of your exhaust smoke could indicate depending on the type of engine in your vehicle.

If your car has a gasoline engine

Is your vehicle powered by a gasoline engine? If so, here are the common reasons the exhaust would release colorful smoke:

Black or gray exhaust smoke

If your exhaust smoke is black or gray, the engine isn’t burning fuel the right way. This could be caused by several factors:

  • Leaking oil
  • Malfunctioning fuel injector
  • Clogged air filter

Blue exhaust smoke

Blue exhaust smoke from the tailpipe is most likely a result of the engine burning oil. This could be caused by:

  • Oil leaking into the combustion chamber
  • Worn piston rings
  • Old valves or cylinders

White exhaust smoke

Before you worry about white exhaust smoke, make sure it’s actually smoke and not steam. Steam is rarely indicative of a problem. However, thick white smoke could mean:

  • The engine is too cold
  • Leaking head gasket
  • Cracked block or cylinder head

If your gasoline engine has colored smoke coming from the exhaust, don’t hesitate to schedule an exhaust system inspection with our car and truck repair shop in Riverview.

If your vehicle has a diesel engine

While gasoline and diesel engines are similar, there are a few key variations. The combustion process is slightly different (diesel engines don’t use spark plugs because the engine runs at a higher temperature), so your colored exhaust smoke could indicate several different issues.

Black or gray exhaust smoke

Gray or black exhaust smoke in a diesel engine could mean:

  • Wrong grade of fuel used
  • Clogged air filter
  • Improper timing
  • Overheating engine
  • Leaking oil
  • Faulty injection system

Blue exhaust smoke

Blue exhaust smoke in a diesel vehicle could still mean oil is being burned, but it could also be caused by engine oil being atomized. This could mean:

  • High engine oil levels
  • Worn out piston rings
  • Old valves or cylinders

White exhaust smoke

If your exhaust smoke is white, this is a reason for concern in a diesel engine vehicle. White exhaust smoke means fuel is not burning properly. This could mean:

  • The engine is too cold
  • Faulty injection system
  • Incorrect timing
  • The engine is overheating

Schedule exhaust system service with our Riverview auto shop

If you ever see exhaust smoke coming from your vehicle, it’s time to pay attention. Make sure your car or truck is running as it should and your exhaust system is in peak condition. Call Christian Brothers Automotive Brandon in Riverview, Florida to schedule an exhaust system inspection today.