Just as you experience certain symptoms when you are sick, your car also has ways of telling you when something is wrong. One of the giveaways to a clear problem with your vehicle is noticing colored smoke coming from the tailpipe. As a responsible driver, it is important to pay attention to your vehicle’s operation and notice if anything seems off. Believe it or not, problems regarding your engine can be partly diagnosed by looking at the exhaust coming from your tailpipe. So before you go into panic mode, you can get an idea of what’s going on according to the color of the exhaust smoke.
Black smoke is in indication that your air-fuel mixture is running high, which means there is too much fuel and not enough air. This color smoke can indicate a problem with the fuel injectors, fuel pressure regulator, or something as simple as a clogged fuel line or air filter. A small puff of black smoke during hard acceleration is nothing to be concerned with, but under normal driving conditions and idling the exhaust should be clear. Essentially, if black smoke is visible regularly the engine is burning too much fuel.
Blue smoke means the engine is burning oil, which can be a result of leaking valve seals or worn out piston rings. Oil is being leaked into the combustion chamber and burned along with fuel. Oil has no place in the combustion chamber, which requires air, fuel and spark only. Aside from problems like poor mileage, acceleration, starting and rough idle, burning oil means you’re losing it. Constant loss of oil means your vital engine components are not being properly lubricated which can lead to a whole host of additional problems.
Gray smoke is more difficult to diagnose, because it can mean that the car is burning oil or it can mean that there is an issue with the automatic transmission fluid getting burned up in the engine. In latter case, the problem is a faulty transmission vacuum modulator causing transmission fluid to get sucked into the engine and burned up. Gray smoke could also mean a stuck PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) valve. When the PCV valve gets stuck, pressure can build and lead to oil leaks. PCV valves are relatively inexpensive and can be fixed usually while you’re waiting.
Thin, vapor-like white smoke is normal and not cause for concern. But, thick White smoke is definitely something to be concerned about. This color smoke may indicate that coolant has made its way into the combustion chamber, and this only occurs if you’ve got a bigger problem that should be addressed immediately. If it is not taken care of quickly you risk overheating and major engine damage. If you notice the color of your exhaust has changed, the best response is to have your car seen by a mechanic immediately to diagnose the problem. If you delay service or ignore the problem, you run the risk of a complete breakdown of your vehicle and increased repair costs.Although the color of the smoke may give you an idea of what’s going on under the hood, it is important to have a professional mechanic properly diagnose the problem. Matthey Automotive’s highly trained mechanics, using state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, will get to the heart of the problem quickly. With our professional and experienced mechanics on the case, you’ll know you and your vehicle are in good hands.