The next time you start your vehicle, take a moment to step outside while it’s still running and take a look at the tailpipe. If your vehicle is operating as it should be, you shouldn’t see anything coming out of it in the way of exhaust. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and more often than not, you’ll see colored smoke.
Depending on the thickness and the color of the smoke coming from your tailpipe, you can actually learn a lot about what’s going on under the hood of your vehicle. In fact, knowledge about what’s coming out of your exhaust system could put you on track to discerning the need for engine repair in Lansing, MI before a problem becomes so bad it warrants a breakdown!
In most gasoline engines, black smoke or very dark gray smoke will signal some form of incomplete fuel combustion. Now, this could have a number of factors at play:
- A clogged air filter could be throwing off the ratios in your combustion chamber, thus leading to improper fuel utilization.
- If your ignition timing is off it could also be causing you some grief in the combustion chamber.
- A blocked exhaust manifold is going to create black smoke, which usually means that there are increasingly toxic blow-by gasses trapped within your engine environment.
- You maybe dealing with an emission systems malfunction that causes your blow-by engine gasses to be improperly processed by your catalytic converter.
No matter what’s causing black smoke, this is a problem you’re going to want to get checked out immediately, before it gets worse.
Blue smoke is a very clear indicator that oil is being burned somewhere within your engine! Whether it’s oil that’s leaking into the combustion chamber and being pressurized with your fuel and air, or it’s oil that’s leaking as the result of worn components (such as piston rings or cylinders), your engine is in danger. Leaking oil means your engine’s moving parts are not getting the lubrication they need, which means friction in your engine and major headaches for you when it comes time for repairs.
White smoke is perhaps the most difficult to discern. On one hand, it could just mean that you’re burning moisture, which is relatively harmless—this usually happens after it rains or if it’s a bit cold outside. On the other hand, however, it could mean you’re burning coolant, which is a precursor to engine repair in Lansing, MI!
If you’re burning white smoke due to the latter issue, it can be the sign of a couple of things. First and most damaging is a cracked engine block or damaged cylinder head, which is going to come with a hefty price tag. Second and thankfully more probable, is a leaking head gasket, which can be replaced.
As you can see, knowing what each different color of exhaust smoke means can go a long way towards helping you stay informed about any potential issues that might be occurring under the hood of your vehicle.