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Why There Is White Smoke from Car Engine? Here’s What You Have to Do 

Why There Is White Smoke from Car Engine

It's normal to see some smoke coming out of your vehicle's tailpipe, especially if you are starting your day in the morning. However, things might worsen if you see a lot of white smoke coming from your engine.

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While you don’t have to panic when dealing with such a situation, you still need to know why this white smoke from car engine is coming and what you have to do about it.

The purpose of this article to help you understand the severity of white smoke from car engines and all that you need to do when dealing with this situation.  

Why would your car smoke in the first place? 


Car smoking can be a serious problem, and it depends heavily on the type and color of smoke coming from your vehicle. There are situations where you see white smoke from car engine, while in other situations, you see black smoke coming from the tailpipe.

For example, if you noticed blue smoke coming out of your tailpipe, this indicates a problem with the catalytic converter in your exhaust system. The catalytic converter is responsible for converting any harmful emissions generated in the combustion system before leaving the car to the environment.

If your catalytic converter has a problem, you will start noticing weird blue smoke coming out of the tailpipe, indicating that your car generates harmful emissions to the environment, including sulfur contaminants. Keep in mind that with a bad catalytic converter, your vehicle cannot pass the emission test. Therefore you must resolve the problem as soon as possible to be able to continue driving your car.

On the other hand, if your car is blowing out black smoke, it indicates that your combustion system is burning too much fuel. As you might probably know, your combustion system requires a certain amount of air to fuel ratio. If this ratio is affected or was not supplied with the right amounts, your vehicle will start burning more fuel resulting in a cloud of smoke with a black color coming out of the tailpipe. 

With the black smoke coming from your vehicle's tailpipe, you will not stop driving your vehicle, but you will be burning so much fuel, and you have to pay a lot for gas. In other words, your vehicle will have a lower fuel economy. 

Despite the repair costs that you must pay to resolve the problem with over burning fuel, you're saving money on gas. Thus, you don't have to go frequently to fill your vehicle's gas in the gas station. 

Before we dive into the different solutions or suggestions for you to deal with white smoke from car engine, it's important to understand why your car would blow this white smoke in the first place. 

In general, if you see some white smoke coming from the engine, it's usually drops of motor oil touched hot surface is and got burnt. 

Another cause for smoke coming from the vehicle’s engine is some coolant leak. Like the oil drops of your motor, the radiator's coolant leak could also get burnt and cause some smoke. 

While a small amount of white smoke coming from under the hood might not indicate serious hitters, if you're dealing with clouds of white smoke in larger quantities, the problem could be a little serious, and you might need to stop driving your vehicle and consult a professional mechanic as soon as possible.

This white smoke might scarify your vehicle's engine in very serious situations, and you don't want to ignore it to save some money on repair costs. Think about how much time, money, and effort you would put to replace your car's engine if it's even worth it. 

White smoke from car engine! What's going on? 


As we mentioned earlier, car smoke can have different colors, which indicate different sources for the culprit.

In this article, our focus is on understanding the purpose of white smoke from car engines. The most common and primary reason for white smoke from the engine is a coolant leak. 

The coolant must flow through certain pipes and connections around your vehicle’s engine block. If there is any crack or leak, the coolant will be leaving the required pathways and cause some white smoke under the hood.

There are plenty of reasons for your vehicle's coolant to leave the proposed and right paths, including: 

  • A faulty head gasket 


The head gasket is a very small component responsible for sealing the cylinders to prevent any liquid from making its way inside the cylinder.

The head gasket is not designed to last forever, and there will be a situation where this head gasket can fail or wear out, allowing liquids to get inside the cylinders. Coolant is one of the different liquids that flow around the engine to cool it down, and if the coolant found a crack or a problem with the head gasket, it can easily leak inside the cylinders.

Having coolant is inside the cylinders is not good, and it will be burnt out, causing some white smoke that you see coming out of your car’s hood. 

  • A problem with the cylinder head 


If you have confirmed that the head gasket is in good condition, another problem that could easily lead to coolant, making its way inside the cylinder is the cylinder itself.

The cylinder also is designed for a certain time. In other words, the cylinder has a lifetime, and it will be damaged at some point in time. If the cylinder head got damaged or failed, the coolant similarly will leak inside it, and it will be burnt to generate this white smoke that you see. 

  • An issue with the fuel injector 


Problems with fuel injectors will not cause wide smoke. However, it will make greyish like smoke.

The fuel injector is responsible for maintaining a certain amount of fuel to get to the engine at the right time to be mixed with the air and generate the power. If the fuel injector is not working properly, your vehicle will be receiving much more fuel than needed, and the combustion system will not be able to burn it because it does not follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

As a result, this extra fuel will not be burned, and it will be leaving the tailpipe in the form of grey cloud smoke. 

  • A damaged injector pump timing  


If you drive a diesel vehicle, you will not have a fuel injector, and your vehicle uses an injector pump timing.

The injector pump is responsible for doing the same job as the fuel injector.

In other words, this pump is responsible for sending the required amount of fuel two the combustion system to generate power. If the pump has a new problem, it will be sending so much fuel that your vehicle will not be able to burn. It will leave the vehicle in the form of a grey cloud 

  • Clogging in the fuel filter 


If your fuel filter is completely clogged, you might be dealing with white smoke coming from under the hood. However, a clogged fuel filter causes additional problems that you will definitely notice immediately.

For example, if the fuel filter is clogged, the vehicle will not receive almost any fuel and will not generate any power. As a result, it will be hard for the vehicle even to start or create power. In other words, you will be dealing with a situation where the car loses power and struggle to start.

In general, a clog fuel filter is one of the rarest reasons for seeing white smoke coming from under the hood. But it is still a possibility.  

  • Oil leaks due to faulty valves 


Some valves around your engine are responsible for allowing excess oil to leave the engine's block, joining the combustion.

If there is any problem with these valves and their seals, there is a very high chance for oil to get inside these cylinders.

We mentioned earlier that if the slender has excess oil, the problem will be more like blue smoke coming from the tailpipe but not white smoke. However, if you're dealing with excess oil in the cylinders during the combustion process, the excess oil will leave the vehicle as white smoke first, then it will be converted to Blue. 



If you see white smoke from the car engine, you don't need to panic all the time. But you don't also want to ignore the problem completely.

If you are dealing with white smoke from car engine, the problem is usually related to a coolant leak. Coolant could leak to the engine through a bad head gasket, a faulty cylinder, a clogged fuel filter; another cause is for leaks.

White smoke coming from the engine might be related to many reasons. Whatever the cause of the problem, you must take care of it immediately and have your vehicle inspected and repaired by a professional mechanic.

While some of these problems might be serious, other problems could be less concerning but might soon lead to complicated problems. 

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