TROUBLE SHOOTING - Smoke

SYMPTOM: THE CAR USES MORE OIL THAN NORMAL, AND THERE IS SOME SMOKE FROM THE EXHAUST

Description of problem: You notice that the oil level is low between oil changes. This did not happen before. It appears that the oil is being burned by the engine because of the smoke in the exhaust. You may also have noticed that the car doesn't have the same amount of power as it once did. This type of problem seems to get worse once it develops.

PROBABLE CAUSES:

  • The PCV system is not working properly.
  • The engine may have mechanical problems.
  • The engine's valve seals may be worn.
  • The engine's piston rings may be worn.

SYMPTOM: GRAY SMOKE FROM THE EXHAUST

Description of problem: You notice a grayish smoke coming from the exhaust when you start your car. The smoke may still be there after the car is warmed, but it may be less noticeable. The smoke may have a bluish tint to it. This problem normally develops over time, and the amount of smoke indicates the seriousness of the problem.

PROBABLE CAUSES:

  • Worn piston rings.
  • Worn valve guides.
  • Damaged or worn valve guides.

SYMPTOM: WHITE SMOKE OR WATER VAPOR FROM THE EXHAUST

Description of problem: You notice a white smoke coming from the exhaust when you start your car. This may be normal if the weather is cold. However, if the smoke continues after the engine is warmed up, there is a problem. This problem normally develops over time, and the amount of smoke indicates the seriousness of the problem.

PROBABLE CAUSES:

  • Automatic transmission fluid may be entering the intake manifold through vacuum connections.
  • The engine's cylinder head gasket may be bad.
  • The engine's cylinder head may be warped or cracked.
  • The engine's block may be cracked.

SYMPTOM: BLACK SMOKE FROM THE EXHAUST

Description of problem: You notice black smoke coming from the exhaust when you start your car. The smoke may still be there after the car is warmed, but it may be less noticeable. The smoke may be accompanied by engine idling problems. This problem normally develops over time, and the amount of smoke indicates the seriousness of the problem.

PROBABLE CAUSES:

  • If you have a carburetor, the carburetor choke may be stuck closed.
  • The fuel injectors may be leaking.
  • The air filter may be clogged.
  • There may be an ignition problem.

SYMPTOM: SMOKE IS COMING FROM UNDER THE HOOD

Description of problem: Sometimes you will only see the smoke when you start your car or when you stop at a traffic light or stop sign. The smoke may be accompanied by engine idling problems. This is a problem that should not be ignored as it may be an indication of a serious and dangerous condition. The cause of the problem is best identified by the color, smell, and amount of smoke. Pay close attention to this. This problem may develop over time and the amount of smoke indicates the seriousness of the problem.

PROBABLE CAUSES:

  • If the smoke has an oily smell, there is an oil leak.
  • If the smoke is white, there is probably an anti-freeze (engine coolant) leak.
  • If the smoke is blue or black and has a strong acrid smell, there is probably an electrical problem, and wires are burning.

SYMPTOM: WHITE SMOKE AND THE SMELL OF BURNING RUBBER

Description of problem: This is a problem that should not be ignored. If you smell something burning, do not continue to drive. Immediately pull off the road. The cause of the problem presents a dangerous condition and is best identified by smell. After you have smelled something burning and have pulled the car off the road, turn the ignition off. Allow the burning to stop then take a look at the possible causes of the problem. Do not look for the problem while the fire is still burning. Most often this type of problem appears suddenly without warning.

PROBABLE CAUSES:

  • The drive belts on the engine may be loose.
  • The engine may be overheating.
  • There may be an electrical short.
  • A component driven by a belt may be seized.

SYMPTOM: SMOKE COMING FROM THE WHEELS

Description of problem: You notice that whenever you have driven awhile and stopped, there is smoke coming from some or all of the car's wheels. You can't see the smoke while you are moving, only when you stop. You may also notice that the brakes don't seem to work as well as they did. This problem occurs gradually but seems to happen suddenly.

PROBABLE CAUSES:

  • The disc brake caliper is seized in its bore.
  • The parking brake is applied or not releasing.
  • A part of the drum brakes is broken.
  • The brake rotors are overheated because of abuse.

 

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