Have you changed your oil recently, and now your car is blowing white smoke? If that’s the case, it may be time to investigate what caused the white smoke. So, why does a car blow white smoke after an oil change?
A car blows white smoke after an oil change typically due to using the wrong oil, excess oil in the sump, or valve stem leak. In addition, the car may blow white smoke due to a cracked cylinder or blown head gasket. When these happen, the oil may not burn correctly, causing the white smoke.
Car blowing white smoke is one of the everyday experiences of owning a car. Read on for more insights into what causes the white smoke, why it’s essential to get rid of it, and possible ways to fix your situation.
The White Smoke From Your Exhaust Pipe Is a Problem
White smoke coming from the exhaust pipe may mean you have a problem that you must address immediately to avoid damaging your car’s engine. Under normal circumstances, you may notice your vehicle blowing light white smoke that disappears after a short time, especially when you turn it on during cold weather.
In such cases, the white smoke indicates that the vaporized fuel in your engine is condensing or turning back to liquid. There’s no cause for alarm in such instances. However, suppose the white smoke is thick and persistent. In that case, it may mean one or more of the following:
You’re Using the Wrong Oil
Using the wrong oil type and viscosity in your car’s engine can cause it to smoke excessively. It’s due to the oil not burning correctly, causing it to get into the exhaust. This results in your exhaust blowing white smoke.
Fortunately, you can purchase the correct type of oil at any automotive store and fix this problem quickly and cheaply by changing the oil.
Pro Tip: To avoid such a scenario, you should always consult your owner’s manual before changing your car’s oil and stick to what the manual recommends. Using the wrong grade of oil in an engine is a common mistake people make when servicing their vehicles, resulting in white smoke coming from the exhaust.
There’s Excess Oil in the Sump
If you’ve just finished an oil change and start noticing a bluish-white smoke coming from the exhaust, it could mean there’s too much oil in your car’s sump. When you refill your car with new oil after an oil change, it’ll often overflow into the sump due to air pressure that prevents it from flowing back out of the vehicle.
In this case, immediately stop driving your car and get a mechanic to drain some of the excess oil from its sump.
The Valve Stem Seal Is Leaking
A valve stem seal leak can cause your oil to get into the combustion chamber, resulting in it burning up and turning into white smoke. The fix for this problem is to replace the engine’s valve stem seals, which are hollow rubber pieces located on either side of your car’s valves.
If you need tools to do the job, I recommend these BETOOLL Valve Stem Seal Pliers (available on Amazon.com). They’re highly versatile and will work well on both OEM and aftermarket seals.
Your Car Cylinder Is Cracked
A cracked cylinder may result in oil leaking into your engine’s cylinders. It can cause white smoke to come out of your exhaust. It would be best if you got this checked by a mechanic because it means you have severe problems with the engine that require an expert’s attention.
Your vehicle may power off immediately if you ignore this problem without taking care of it quickly.
Your Head Gasket Is Blown
If no water or coolant passes through the combustion chamber, then there might be a blown head gasket leak that causes your car to burn oil instead of gas. As a result, your vehicle will blow white smoke from its exhaust.
You should take your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as you notice the problem because it can cause severe problems with the engine’s coolant system if left unchecked for an extended period.
Here’s a YouTube video that describes some of the tests the mechanic will perform to determine if your car’s head gasket is damaged:
That being said, here’s a table that summarizes the typical exhaust smoke colors and their possible causes:
|Exhaust Smoke Color||Possible Causes|
|Blue/Gray||Leaking valve sealsGap between the valve stem and valve guideWorn-out piston ringsDamaged cylinder wallsStuck closed PCV Valve|
|Black||Leaking fuel injectorClosed fuel pressure regulatorRestricted fuel return line|
|White/Gray||Cracked cylinder headCrack in the engine block deckDamaged head gasketUsing the wrong oilExcess oil in the sumpValve stem leak|
How Do I Fix White Smoke From the Exhaust?
Sometimes, even after changing your oil or checking other parts of your vehicle, you may still experience white smoke coming out of the exhaust.
You can fix white smoke from the exhaust by getting a mechanic to check all engine components and replace any faulty part that’s causing this issue with your car. Get your mechanic to clean the fuel injectors and valves since these are major sources of air pollution inside the engine.
Alternatively, you can check the hoses connected to your engine’s exhaust pipe or look into its muffler system. Also, inspect any loose nuts and bolts on the engine to ensure there are no leaks of oil or gasses.
If these measures fail to fix white smoke coming from the exhaust, then it may be due to a problem with your car’s internal combustion system. It’s serious and requires immediate attention because it can severely damage your vehicle’s engine if ignored for too long.
That said, taking preventive measures is the best way to avoid the hassles that come with trying to undo the causes of your car blowing white smoke. In that regard, here are some tips that’ll help prevent your vehicle from spewing white smoke in the future:
- Consult your owner’s manual before changing the oil type in your car.
- Don’t overfill your vehicle’s oil, as it may overflow into the sump if you do so.
- Inspect your car’s parts regularly so you can catch issues as early as possible.
Does Low Oil Cause White Smoke?
Oil is used in internal combustion engines as a lubricant for moving parts inside them. It prevents contact between these components, so they don’t wear out quickly due to pressure when driving fast. But does low oil cause white smoke?
Low oil doesn’t cause white smoke. However, you may notice white smoke when you use a lower grade of oil than what’s recommended for a car’s engine. Also, your exhaust may blow blue-tinted smoke when oil enters the combustion chamber.
Why Is My Engine Smoking After I Put Oil in It?
Your car’s engine can smoke after putting oil in it due to an oil spill on the engine, oil leak, or putting too much oil. Quick fixes to these problems include draining the excess oil and waiting for the excess to evaporate.
If these measures fail, they may be due to more severe problems that your mechanic needs to know. So consult a mechanic as soon as you can.
Can I Drive My Car With White Smoke?
Now that you know what causes white smoke to come out of your exhaust, the next question is whether or not you can drive with this problem.
You should never drive your car with white smoke. If you continue driving without addressing the underlying problem, you risk engine failure and severe damage to the car’s parts.
It’s best to schedule an appointment with a mechanic as soon as possible while closely monitoring your vehicle for further signs of smoke coming out of the exhaust.
White smoke often indicates problems in an internal combustion engine that may lead to severe consequences if not addressed in due time.
To avoid the hassle of correcting this issue, you should consult your owner’s manual and use high-quality engine oil for your car. Furthermore, you should also pay close attention to the vehicle’s warning signs. Once you see white smoke coming from the exhaust, don’t drive your car until a qualified mechanic has checked it.