What You Can Deduce From The Color Of Your Car’s Exhaust Smoke

Cars remain a source of endless mystery for many people, especially where automotive problems are concerned. Fortunately, you don't always have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out what's going wrong with your car. If you would like to learn more about recognizing common automobile problems, read on. This article will teach you what you can deduce from the color of your vehicle's exhaust smoke.

Black Smoke

In almost every case, black exhaust smoke is an indication that the fuel mixture passing into your engine is too rich. What that means is that the mixture contains either too much fuel, too little air, or both. Ideally there should be 14.7 parts air for every 1 part fuel. An excess of gasoline leads to improper burning of fuel, which in turn leads to black exhaust smoke.

On older cars, this problem is often the result of a carburetor in need of adjustment. Changing the automatic choke or float settings may be all that is needed to restore a proper fuel ratio. Newer vehicles commonly experience black smoke as the result of leaky fuel injectors. This problem will have to be verified by a trained mechanic, who will likely use a scan tool to determine the precise location of the problem.

Blue Smoke

Blue smoke generally indicates an engine that is burning oil. Many times this will be accompanied by the smell of burning toast. This problem may be the result of a leak which is allowing oil to escape into a part of the engine where it should not be. If your car also seems to be needing oil changes on a hyperactive basis, there's a good chance that you're dealing with a leak.

Blue smoke is also often caused by damaged or worn out valve guide oil seals. When these seals go bad, oil is able to migrate upward, escaping from the cylinder head. This escaping oil then enters the exhaust manifold or the intake manifold and catches on fire. As carbon deposits from this smoke build up inside of your engine, further complications may develop. Thus it is a good idea to consult your mechanic as quickly as possible if you notice blue smoke coming out of your exhaust. 

White Smoke

White smoke means that you are burning one of two things: coolant or transmission fluid. You can distinguish between them by the smell of the smoke. The odor of burnt oil indicates burning transmission fluid. Coolant, on the other hand, will possess a sickly sweet smell.

Burning transmission fluid is generally the result of a leak or an irregular suction problem that is drawing the fluid into the engine through one of the vacuum hoses. Burning coolant is generally caused by either a leaky head gasket or a cylinder head with a crack in it. Any and all of these issues should be a sign that you need to schedule a visit to the mechanic as soon as possible. Contact a business, such as PDR Automotive Inc, for more information.