Persistent Exhaust Smoke: Should It Concern You?

If large quantities of black, gray, or white smoke billow out of your car's exhaust pipe every time you drive, you may wonder if it's wise to see a mechanic soon. The answer is yes. You should take your car to a mechanic as soon as you possibly can. The smoke billowing out of your exhaust pipe could indicate almost anything, including a leaking head gasket and fuel tank problem. Learn more about exhaust smoke and why it should concern you below.

Why Does the Color of Exhaust Smoke Matter?

It isn't uncommon for you and other drivers to see small wisps of white smoke leaving their exhaust pipes early in the morning. Exhaust systems can build up with condensation during the coldest days of the year. Once the exhaust system and engine warm up, the condensation dries up and shouldn't cause any issues for you. However, an exhaust system that continually pushes out large amounts of colorful smoke can be a serious problem for you.

Many things cause exhaust systems to smoke, including fuel and engine problems. The exhaust system in your car connects directly to your fuel system and engine. Gases and other fumes leave the fuel system and engine through the exhaust. If something goes wrong in the fuel system or engine, it will generally show up in the exhaust system as smoke, heavy fumes, or both. 

It's possible for some types of exhaust smoke to clear up on its own. However, smoke that doesn't dissipate on its own requires a trip to the mechanic.

What Should You Do About Your Exhaust Smoke?

In order to diagnose your car properly, a mechanic must examine the color of the smoke leaving your car's exhaust pipe. The color of exhaust smoke can help pinpoint exactly where the problem is in your car. The color of the smoke can also help a mechanic choose the best repairs for your situation.

If the smoke leaving your exhaust pipe is blue or gray in color, it could indicate a problem with your car's combustion system. To repair this issue, a mechanic may need to change your car's oil, clean the engine, or something else pertaining to the engine. 

If the exhaust smoke looks black or dark gray, your car may have an issue with the fuel system itself. An auto repair technician may need to clean the system or replace some of the parts inside it. 

If the smoke leaving your exhaust system looks thick and white, your vehicle could have something wrong with the head gasket. In this case, a mechanic will need to replace the head gasket in your car to keep it running.

Learn more about exhaust smoke and how to solve it by contacting an auto repair technician today or visiting a website like