A billowing smoke coming out of a vehicle’s exhaust pipe is absolutely noticeable. Neither you nor the other drivers on the road would miss it. But having oil come out of your exhaust pipe is a different story. Oil leaks are often sneaky. Oil coming out of your vehicle’s exhaust pipe often indicates serious failures or wear of the engine’s internal components, such as valve guides, broken or worn piston rings, bad head gasket, and so on.
Oil coming out of the exhaust pipe is a warning sign that there is something wrong with your vehicle, and it should be checked by a professional mechanic or be taken to a repair facility immediately. Here are the most common reasons why this is happening and what you should do about it.
Why is there oil in my tailpipe?
There are a couple of reasons why there is oil in your vehicle’s pipeline, it can be alarming but no need to worry for we have prepared a guide to troubleshoot them.
According to reports gathered by the U.S. Department of Transportation, fuel system issues comprise almost 70,000 common vehicle problems for cars produced from 1996 to 2019, which put it to 7th place among the most common vehicle problems.
One day you are confused why there is an oil coming out of your vehicle’s exhaust pipe, you tried to determine the problem to no avail. Now you are asking yourself, “what really is the problem or how bad is it?”
There is no need to panic in this kind of situation though. This issue is actually quite common for used cars. There are ways to resolve this issue of oil leak in an exhaust pipe. You can even fix it at home without the help of a professional mechanic. According to experts, most oil leakages from exhaust pipes can be an indication of problems somewhere else. Take a look at these 5 clearly explained steps to pinpoint how oil got into the exhaust system, which will help you reach for a solution.
Obstructed PVC valve
As everyone knows, internal engine gases pass through the PVC valve to get to the combustion chambers. The growing amount of gas volume creates pressure on the engine when it is obstructed. This forces the oil to flow through several seals and into the exhaust pipe.
Bluish smoke and oil-smeared spark plugs are the typical indicators for this kind of oil coming out of exhaust problems. For this to get fixed, you will have to replace the valve. This issue will be just a piece of cake, if you follow our recommendation.
Examine The End of the Exhaust Pipe
Occasionally, the leaked oil coming from the exhaust might not be oil at all. The exhaust pipe can generally be the main source of this issue. If you are the kind of vehicle owner that regularly misses out to clean your exhaust system, besides the maintenance tips we will provide, we strongly recommend that you check the outside of the pipe. Soot is usually collected by the pipe and the layer could be quite thick. The condensation coming out of the vehicle exhaust, mixed with that soot could form an oil-like liquid. Fret not, as drivers can fix this issue pretty easily. All you have to do is wear a glove and run a finger on the inside of the pipe to check if there is soot.
Worn Valve Guides
Valve guides manage the gas flow into and out of the engine. These valves have seals around their shafts that wear out through time. Once this happens, the engine oil leaks and flows into the exhaust gases. If this problem occurs, you will notice bluish smoke coming out of the tailpipe.
Ruptured or Torn Head Gaskets
Being a part of the exhaust system, head gaskets act as a seal between the engine heads and the block. A blown gasket allows one or more fluids to get past the seals and mix into the exhaust stream. This could be a place to check, if you find oil coming out of the exhaust.
The most common symptoms are decreased engine performance, excessive fuel burning, and overheated engine. To bring the system back to its normal operating performance, you have to replace the defective gaskets.
Watch out for the Smoke Colors
To determine the type of oil coming out of the exhaust, you should monitor the color of the tailpipe smoke since they indicate what kind of problem you should be addressing.
Black smoke is a product of unburnt fuel, which means that the engine fails to burn one or two combustion catalysts. Bluish or gray smoke means there is an engine oil leak into the internal combustion chamber.
On the contrary, white smoke requires a thorough checkup of the engine. The issue could lie in the combustion chamber or because of bad piston oil rings.
For vehicles with a long usage history, oil coming out of the exhaust pipe is a fairly common issue. Frequent maintenance or inspection is important to ensure safe and hassle-free driving, because more worn parts can be found as a vehicle’s mileage increases. This is one of the factors you have to put into consideration when deciding to purchase used vehicles. But do not worry, we have prepared a checklist of the most common car issues and how to fix them.
What is the liquid that comes out of a car exhaust?
It is a byproduct of the combustion process, and that liquid is water. In simple terms, it is composed of chemicals such as Hydrocarbon fuel + oxygen = carbon dioxide + water. Normally the water goes out the exhaust as a vapor, but it can condense into a liquid if the surface or environment of the exhaust is cold enough.
Why is black stuff coming out of my exhaust?
Carbon fuel from unburned fuel causes a build up of black deposits in the exhaust system. Since no system is 100% efficient, a very small amount of this black deposit is normal. However, heavy soot indicates misfiring or a rich condition. This could also lead to premature failure of your O2 sensors and catalytic converter.
What happens if you get water in your exhaust?
Experts recommend that you avoid flooded roads as much as you can as they can cause problems to your engine. According to them, if you drive through flooded areas or water and the engine suddenly stops and will not turn over, it means the cylinder is most likely filled with water. In this case, you are dealing with a hydraulic lock as the engine’s cylinders cannot compress water as they process the fuel-air mixture that they use to generate power. Do not try to start the engine since it can lead to serious damage.
What happens if your vehicle gets flooded?
Let us assume that you have comprehensive coverage and your insurance will cover the damage. Make sure to keep any receipts since you will be needing them if you need towing out of the flood. Call your insurer immediately. They will most likely have a professional service for drying out a waterlogged vehicle. Insurers claim that approximately 70 percent of waterlogged vehicles have to be written off.
According to a technical expert, if you drive through deep water and the car hangs back but you manage to drive out, you should try your brakes right away. If they are fine, look for a safe place to pull over and let the engine run for around 10 minutes or so. This should be enough time for the ambient heat from the engine to dry things out. After 24 – 48 hours, when the engine is cold, lift the oil filler cap and check if there is a white mayonnaise-like substance on it. If yes, water has gotten in and got mixed with the oil. If this is the case, you will need to flush the engine and change the oil filter.
How do you clean a clogged muffler?
Carbon buildup in the engine is shown by soot that coats the inside of your muffler in time. There are a variety of factors that contribute to the carbon buildup in engines, including bad driving habits and bad gas. Carbon buildup is especially common in 2-stroke engines as lubricant is added directly to their fuel mix. The carbon deposits can be really thick, to the point that it affects the engine’s performance. The removal of carbon deposit from your muffler will restore the gas flow that the exhaust system was designed for. You can accomplish the decarbonization process in just an hour with a few simple steps.
- Spray the inside and the tip of the muffler with the carbon or combustion chamber cleaner. Use a generous amount. Let the cleaner work for a couple of minutes before moving to the next step.
- Scrub inside the tailpipe with the wire brush to remove the carbon deposits. Place a tray under the opening of the muffler to catch the carbon particles that come out of it. Do this procedure often as the carbon buildup will not come off in one application. Repeat this step and the previous one 2 or 3 more times until most of the carbon buildup in the muffler comes off.
- Wipe off the tip of the exhaust with a rag or cloth after the carbon removal process. Reattach any external muffler components you may have removed.
- You can try using a propane torch to heat up the inside and the tip of the muffler until the carbon has been burned off and becomes ash, once the carbon buildup is relatively dense that chemical cleaners do not work.
- Use a screwdriver to scrape the carbon from inside the exhaust pipe. To further knock off carbon deposits, tap the sides of the muffler. Be sure to remove any external baffles so that they will not get discolored from the heat.
Once the decarbonizing process is complete, see to it that the area behind the muffler is clear before starting the engine as some particles may be left in the muffler.
Most common symptoms of a clogged exhaust?
- Decreased acceleration and power
Once there is a problem with your exhaust, it will begin to affect the performance of your vehicle’s engine. You will not be able to accelerate as well or even as quickly as before. You will also not get the same power when you do accelerate. You should address the exhaust leak immediately to stop the problem from becoming worse.
- Burning Smell from the Engine Bay
Once the gasket fails and starts to leak near any engine wiring or any components under the hood that are made of plastic, the heat from the exhaust gases could burn these components. The burning components then emit a burning smell that can be similar to a burning engine. It can also let out a bit of smoke, however, you should not wait to see smoke before getting it inspected. If you see any smoke or smell any burning you should have your vehicle checked right away to prevent any accident from happening.
- Reduced Fuel Efficiency
When your acceleration and power is reduced, most of the time the fuel efficiency is reduced as well. To get your vehicle to function in the same way before the problem occurred, it has to work even harder, thus using more fuel. It may seem like you are saving money by just ignoring it, but you will begin spending a lot more on fuel if you do not get it fixed.
- Excessively Noisy Engine
One of the first indicators of exhaust problems that you should be on the look out is if you have an overly noisy engine. It will cause an exhaust leak that sounds like a tapping or hissing sound, if you have a faulty exhaust gasket. The noise is significantly louder during a cold start or when you accelerate the vehicle.
Seeing oil coming out of your exhaust seems really disturbing, but knowing the most common causes of these issues will somehow put your mind at ease.