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What’s causing your car to release white smoke?

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It is not an unusual sight to see smoke coming out of vehicles, but do you know the reason behind it? If the smoke released from your car is white and also thick (more than a few wisps of vapour), it may be a sign that the internal parts of your car have been damaged and require fixing. Here are 4 possible reasons why your car is billowing white smoke:

1. Internal Coolant Leakage

If your car is releasing thick, white smoke while also omitting a sweet odour, it means that there is possibly a leakage in the internal coolant. Another indicator might be a low coolant reservoir level, which is a plastic tank located at the engine area. It should be filled with liquid to the “Full” line. Leakage of coolant is dangerous as the liquid might flow into the combustion chamber, where the engine oil is, producing a milky appearance.

2. Cracked Internal Engine Parts

A cracked cylinder head, cracked engine block, and a cracked head gasket are all due to the overheating of a car. A cracked cylinder head allows the leakage of the coolant into other cylinders and the combustion chamber. This happens when you run your car on dirty coolant, low levels of coolant, and your car’s cooling systems that are not regularly maintained. Over time, your car engine will wear down the seals of head gaskets, which also causes coolant leakage.


3. Broken Fuel Pumping Injection

Diesel-pumped cars puffing out white smoke may be caused by a broken fuel pumping injection. This pump is in charge of pumping in diesel to the engine’s many cylinders at a precise timing, maximising fuel efficiency, and preventing diesel overrun (the engine takes more fuel than required). If the timing is off, thick white smoke will be emitted from your car.

4. Damaged Turbocharger

Turbochargers, or ‘turbos’, are designed to create a powerful and efficient fuel system for your car, whilst reducing exhaust waste that would otherwise emit into the air as pollution. If you notice excessive white smoke, it could be a sign of a defective turbo, specifically a crack in the turbo housing. As a result, the oil will leak into the exhaust system and dramatically increases smoke production. If you run into this problem, you should consult your mechanic immediately.

For new drivers or drivers who have a brief knowledge of cars, it is strongly advised that you send your car to a mechanic when thick, white smoke is persistently emitting through your exhaust pipe. It is dangerous to operate and attempt to fix the issue yourself without full knowledge of the internal engine system as you may harm yourself in the process, and/or, cause further damage to your car if not done properly.

Regular maintenance is also key to preventing your car from problems such as white smoke. Schedule a service appointment every few months with your mechanic according to your car’s requirements. Another great way to ensure your car is in good condition is to learn more about your car and its functions. For instance, knowing where the internal coolant is located at (it’s in the hood, by the way), you can easily fill it up yourself with the suitable coolant to prevent your car from overheating and damaging it any further.

If your car is due for a service, do drop by our workshop to get it inspected and fixed. Your safety is our priority!

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