When smoke is coming from your vehicle one thing is for sure—it’s not good. The tailpipe though is the key to determining the exact cause and how serious the trouble may be. Different colors of smoke can mean that different areas of the vehicle are in distress. Here’s what you need to know if you witness white smoke, black smoke, burning smell coming from your car, or if it is simply steam from a hot engine on a cold day.
Internal combustion engines have many different components that are responsible for helping power the vehicle. The area of the engine where fuel mixes with air, compressed and ignited is known as the combustion chamber. Anytime the combustion chamber has something to burn off, it will be forced out through the tailpipe. Alternately, a small puff of black smoke from diesel-powered vehicles is completely normal because of the air to fuel ratio.
Black smoke: Indicates that the vehicle is burning too much fuel. Black smoke is often the result of a faulty or leaking fuel injector, broken or damaged fuel pressure regulator, or dysfunctional carburetor. However, it could be something as simple as a clogged air filter or other intake components. Newer vehicles have a check engine light that will come on if the fuel system gets out of the appropriate range.
White smoke: Water condensation or antifreeze has mixed with the fuel supply. Again, adding coolant or antifreeze to your car’s cooling system will keep your car from overheating for as long as you remember to keep feeding the reservoir, but the wise move is to have it checked out as soon as possible.
If the smoke is coming from under your hood, that probably means you ignored white smoke coming out of the tailpipe, and now your engine is overheating. Or maybe you completely forgot to add coolant at all, and the engine overheated. Not that anyone would ever do that. That’s ridiculous.
The Reasons for Car Smoking under Hood but Not Overheating
There could be several reasons for car smoking but not overheating. These are not serious issues but could turn serious if you don’t find out the root of the problem and fix it. The most common causes of this trouble are:
1. Oil Spillage
If the car smoking under hood but not overheating, it could happen due to the presence of oil outside the engine where it does not belong. Oil could go there when you are not careful when filling up the gas tank. Or, a spill could occur when you are adding oil to the crankcase.
If it is just an oil spillage at the wrong place, it won’t do any major harm except for producing a harsh, oily smell. It will quickly burn off without causing any long-term damage. However, if spills are a regular occurrence and you keep driving without wiping it off, some rubber or plastic parts could break down due to being submerged in oil for a long time.
In most cases, smoking coming from under the hood is not a major issue. However, you have to be careful and follow some rules to keep it that way.
- The smoking problem may cause showing low pressure in the oil gauge or lighting up the oil pressure indicator. If that happens, don’t keep driving the car. Take it to an auto servicing shop as soon as possible. Ignoring the problem is likely to end up with malfunctioning piston rings or stalling the engine.
- If you detect smoke and low oil pressure while driving on the highway, try to park somewhere safe immediately and shut off the engine. If you have an extra gallon, add it to the fuel tank and restart the engine. Drive carefully to a safe place or a repair shop if the oil pressure improves or the light goes off. There is no other option but to tow the car to a garage given that the added oil makes no difference.
- To know more about car problems and solutions, Visit our YouTube: @autoxpattv, Follow us on IG: @autoxpat, Facebook: @autoxpat, Twitter: @autoxpattvpro