Reasons Why Smoke is Coming Out of Car's Tailpipe - Chevrolet Maintenance Information in Salem, OR

Learn why smoke is coming from your Chevrolet tailpipe

If people look at your car and mistake it for a steam engine, chances are you've got a problem. Visible emissions coming from your vehicle's tailpipe are an indication that something has gone wrong somewhere. There is good news, though: observing the color of the smoke can help you figure out what the problem is. When you schedule an appointment at an authorized Chevy service center to have the experts take a look at your car, truck, or SUV, make sure to mention the color of the smoke. Here's what each color could mean.

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4. Is It Really Smoke?

The first thing to do is to make sure that the emissions you're seeing are actually smoke, not steam. If your Chevy has been sitting out in the cold, it's normal for it to let off some steam when you first start it up. This is because condensation can build up in the exhaust, and it begins to evaporate as the hot vapors warm up the pipe. It looks like smoke coming from the tailpipe; however, it's usually not huge and billowing, and will go away soon (probably by the time your engine has warmed up).

3. White or Grey Smoke

If it's actually smoke and not just steam, white emissions are bad news. White smoke often indicates a blown or leaking head gasket. When this happens, coolant combines with the fuel and air mixture in your engine's combustion chamber. If left untreated, a blown head gasket can destroy your engine.

Schedule service for exhaust leaks and excess smoke from the tailpipe in Salem, OR

2. Black Smoke

On the opposite end of the color spectrum is black smoke. If you've noticed black smoke coming from your tailpipe, the likely culprit is a fuel and air mixture that's too rich. This means that too much fuel is getting into the cylinders, and not enough air. What's more, it smells bad and can damage your engine. When you bring your Chevy in, the technicians will look at components like the engine air filter, fuel pressure regulator, and fuel injectors.

1. Blue Smoke

Blue smoke coming from your car can be tricky, and is sometimes mistaken for grey smoke. However, if you look closely, you'll see its distinctive blue tinge. This indicates that a lot of oil is being burned in the engine. Small amounts of burning oil won't usually make smoke, so there has to be a fair amount of oil in the combustion chamber(s) for blue smoke to show up. This means that PVC valves, piston rings, and valve seals are likely at fault.