Smoke coming from your exhaust pipe is typically benign, but it can be a sure sign that your engine needs some attention. Our guide should help clear the air on any tail-pipe debacle you may be having. Car tail-pipes, that is.
Smoke Color and Volume
The color of the smoke coming from your exhaust pipe can help you determine whether you’ve got a serious problem. The least concerning color to see coming from your exhaust is black. If your exhaust pipe is billowing black smoke, it’s a sure sign that either your car is burning too much fuel, or there’s a clog in your fuel return line. These are fairly easy and cheap fixes, just make sure you don’t ignore them.
Next up is white, gray, or blue smoke. These smoke colors are much more difficult to diagnose, as it’s harder to visually differentiate the three. What’s most important here is volume. If your vehicle is emitting large clouds of white, gray, or blue smoke that fails to dissipate quickly in the air, we would urge you to you seek the help of a professional as soon as possible.
On the flip side, if your car is emitting a steady, vapor-like cloud of smoke, we wouldn’t be concerned. Typically, what you’re seeing is a buildup of condensation in the exhaust system, which will dissipate quickly into the air once it leaves your tail pipe. You’re more likely to experience this symptom during winter, when your cold engine parts are suddenly warmed by the running engine.
A Foul Smell
You’ve probably smelled these odors coming from an old vehicle driving in front of you. If your car is emitting a strikingly unpleasant odor, we say take it in for service. But please, do not go sticking your nose in the tail pipe – if there’s a problem, you’ll smell it from the driver’s seat and you’ll know it’s serious.
If You’re Not Sure
Take it in for a general check-up. Your mechanic will be able to assess the smoke from your tail pipe much better in person than we could over the web. Just remember, black smoke is not the sign of anything too harmful, but that doesn’t mean you ignore it. White, gray, or blue smoke is harder to diagnose, but we wouldn’t worry unless there was a lot of it coming from your tail pipe.
And as always, if you need any service, or have any questions, please feel free to contact Audi Cary at your convenience. Our trained mechanics will probably be able to tell you over the phone whether they think your car’s symptoms are problematic.