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3 Different Engine Smoke Colours And What They Mean

Nwogbunyama Emeka

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Do you see smoke coming out from the exhaust pipe of your car, but don’t know if you should worry or not? You’ll find the answers to this as you read this post.

There are so many signs you’ll see in car that depict there could be an issue with your engine. Smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe is one of these signs that tells you something is wrong with your engine. This smoke in question comes in different colours.  The colour will point out what the problem could actually be; different colours mean different things.

car exhaust smoke

Below are the three known most common engine smoke colours that come out of your engine and what they mean.





1.  Black smoke

When you  see black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe of your car, it usually means one thing – your engine is running rich. This means your car is using more fuel than it should to keep the engine running. When the engine is operating optimally, there is a certain ratio of air and fuel mixture used in the combustion chamber. When the fuel to air ratio isn’t corresponding the way it should and more fuel is burnt, black smoke emerges.

One of the common cause of this black smoke is a clogged air filter. This problem will make your car to consume more fuel and if not sorted out, may lead to some other engine issues.

2. Blue smoke

Blue smoke indicates there is an oil leak inside your engine and that oil is burning inside there. It can arise because of too much or too little engine oil in your car. To find out if this is the cause of your blue smoke, you should first check your dipstick. If it’s above the “full” line, you’ll need to drain and dispose of the excess. If it’s under the “add” mark you’ll need to add oil. The root cause of the oil burning can be anything from a leaky head gasket to a broken piston ring.

It also can arise as a result of a poorly maintained engine or when the wrong engine oil is used.

3. White smoke

White engine smoke from the exhaust pipe shows there is a cooling system leak. This allows coolant to be burnt within the engine. This in turn sends puffy cloud of white smoke to the exhaust pipe of your car. This coolant burning in your engine puts your car at risk of overheating which can lead to blown top gasket.





Emeka is a Contributor at Autojosh. A graduate of Electrical/Electronic Engineering with a B.Eng degree. Emeka is a car enthusiast who is interested in traveling, writing, movies and driving. He also loves drinking garri with cold water.

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