If your car is blowing smoke, it can indicate a serious issue!
If your car is blowing smoke, it can be indicative of a serious problem and is not something you should ignore. Not only can it be dangerous and bad for the environment, but it can be costly too – and not just for the repairs. Cars that are blowing smoke for more than 10-second durations can be reported to the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, who can follow up with the owner of the vehicle, and potentially even issue a fine.
Before identifying the problem, it is important to determine whether it is actually smoke you’re observing. In colder climates, the white “smoke” you may see is just condensation. It usually only lasts as long as it takes for the car to warm up, and you may see little droplets of water dripping from the exhaust pipe. This is nothing to worry about, however, if you’re seeing black or grey smoke, you have a problem.
Some common causes of smoke are:
- vehicle overdue for a service
- build-up of dirt or oil in air cleaner
- carburettor flooding
- incorrect grade of oil
- faulty engine management system
- faulty oxygen sensor or other engine management sensors
- faulty fuel injector
- worn or broken rings, pistons, rotor seals, worn valve guides or faulty valve stem seals
- faulty brake-booster assembly
- faulty automatic transmission vacuum diaphragm
- faulty PCV valve (this can cause blue smoke emissions from the vehicle’s exhaust)
- oil leak onto exhaust (could be unrelated to engine oil consumption – P/S or g-box oil)
While smoke can occur in well-maintained vehicles between servicing, it occurs most commonly in those that are poorly maintained and infrequently serviced, so it’s important to ensure you’re keeping up with scheduled servicing.
Another important thing to be aware of if you see a car blowing smoke is that often the owner/driver of the car doesn’t know that it’s happening, so if you get the chance to let them know or report it, it may just help them to get on top of a problem before it becomes too serious.
If you have any concerns about your car, whether it’s blowing smoke or any other problem, we are always happy to have a chat with you to discuss your options.
Until next time, safe driving!