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What Does the Color of My Exhaust Smoke Mean?

Most modern vehicles nowadays run cleaner than ever before. Rarely do cars spit out heaps of exhaust fumes. When you do catch puffy clouds from your car, there’s usually a greater problem at hand.


The color of exhaust smoke can be very telling of what is going on within the vehicle. Exhaust smoke can be white, blue, or black. Here is what they can mean:

White Exhaust Smoke

Before you panic at the sight of white exhaust smoke, you should double-check to see whether it is actually smoke and not steam. Steam is lighter and wispier than white exhaust smoke, and it rarely means there’s a problem. It is simply just condensation. However, thick white smoke could signify that:

  • The engine is too cold
  • The head gasket is leaking coolant
  • The cylinder block or head is cracked

Blue Exhaust Smoke

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

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

Black Exhaust Smoke

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

  • Clogged or bad fuel injectors
  • Dirty air filter
  • Leaking oil

If your car is emitting an abundance of exhaust fumes, please bring your car to the experts at inMOTION Auto Care as soon as possible. Our techs will get down to the bottom of the problem and have you back on the road in no time.

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