What does the color of your car’s exhaust mean?

Orozco’s Auto Blog is back this week with not so much a single part, but a general idea. This week, we’re going to tell you what the color of your car’s exhaust means.

If you see a noticeable change in your car’s exhaust, you should be concerned. Even if you do not notice a change in your vehicle’s performance or efficiency and there are no warning lights on your dashboard, smoke coming from your exhaust is more often than not a sign that something may not be working correctly.

There are a few different colors of smoke that can point to common issues which are relatively easy to diagnose.

Blue smoke coming from your exhaust pipe most likely means that your engine is burning oil. The most common causes of this problem are your valve guide seals, piston rings, or head gasket being worn out, allowing oil to leak past where it belongs into the cylinder, where it is being ignited with the gaIf you see blue smoke, you should check your engine’s seals and gaskets and replace the worn ones as soon as possible to prevent further, possibly catastrophic, damage to your engine. Until then, you should check your oil regularly, refill it if it goes down, and avoid putting excess stress on your car.

Burning oil can cause your car to produce more pollution and run more roughly, as it can damage your spark plugs.

The second most common reason for blue smoke is, if your car is turbocharged, the turbo(s) may need to be rebuilt or replaced.

Gray smoke is not as telling as blue smoke. It can also mean that your car is burning oil or needs a new turbo, and you should get all of these checked as soon as possible, but it can also mean other things.

Gray smoke may be automatic transmission fluid leaking into the engine and getting burned up, which would mean that you need a new transmission vacuum modulator. It could also mean a stuck Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve, which is designed to cut down on harmful emissions by recycling them back into the combustion chamber. Your PCV valve getting stuck can lead to a buildup of pressure and oil leaks.

Thick white smoke can be caused by your engine burning coolant. This is most likely a serious issue such as a blown head gasket, damaged cylinder head, or a cracked engine block, all of which can quickly destroy your engine if not taken care of right away. Even a small leak in coolant can lead to overheating and risk serious damage to your engine, or mix with oil and destroy its functionality.

Black smoke means that your engine is running too rich. This may be due to an air filter, oxygen sensor, fuel injector, fuel pressure regulator, clogged fuel return line, or another component of your intake and injection system malfunctioning. Usually, this will not lead to any serious problems or damage, but will definitely negatively affect your fuel economy and should still be remedied as soon as possible.

Any smoke coming from your car is a sign that something is wrong. Pay attention to what your vehicle needs and take care of it to ensure that it lasts you as long as possible. Here at Orozco’s Auto Service in Long Beach, we are happy to help figure out why your car is smoking and fix the problem. If you’ve noticed a change in your exhaust color, call our certified mechanics at (562)-427-4256 to schedule an appointment today! Orozco’s Auto Service is the most trusted shop in Long Beach.

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  • 9681 Alondra Blvd. Bellflower, CA 90706
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  • 3033 Long Beach Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90807
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  • 3619 Atlantic Ave. Long Beach, CA 90807
  • 562-427-4256
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