Posted under Car Engine

That’s a great question, and you brought it to the right place. Jiffy Lube® is serious about your vehicle’s exhaust system because when it’s functioning correctly, your vehicle operates more efficiently, delivers better gas mileage and helps protect the environment from dangerous emissions. 

SO, IS WHITE SMOKE FROM EXHAUST A WARNING SIGN? 

Sometimes, but not always. For example, thin white smoke coming from exhaust usually isn’t cause for concern. When you start the engine, it gets hot. The heat mixes with condensation to cause steam, or a stream of water vapor. That’s often the reason for thin white smoke coming from exhaust.

Now thick white smoke from exhaust, on the other hand, may be more serious. It can indicate that coolant has made its way into the combustion chamber. When you see that thick white smoke coming from exhaust, take action and bring your vehicle to Jiffy Lube. With more than 2,000 locations across the country, there’s sure to be one nearby. A trained technician can diagnose the problem, which could be:

  • A blown head gasket
  • A damaged cylinder head
  • A cracked engine block

Don’t put it off! Responding as soon as you see thick white smoke from exhaust can help you catch the problem before it turns into a costly and time-consuming repair.

Now that we’ve discussed white smoke from exhaust and what it can mean, let’s talk about dark smoke.

BLACK SMOKE

If you spot black smoke, please get your vehicle inspected as soon as possible. Typically, black smoke means fuel injectors are injecting excessive fuel, and your vehicle is not able to burn it completely. Does this sound like a waste of fuel? It is! But even worse than busting your budget, this excess fuel could do lasting damage to your vehicle.

There are also reasons for black smoke that aren’t as ominous, including:

  • A plugged air filter
  • Defective fuel pressure regulator
  • Plugged fuel return line

Don’t leave solving this to guesswork. Instead, bring your vehicle to Jiffy Lube for a thorough once over. A trained technician will get to the root of the problem and recommend a solution.

GRAY SMOKE

The reason for gray smoke from your exhaust pipe is often difficult to determine because there can be so many possible causes. Here are a few:

  • A defective automatic transmission vacuum modulator allows transmission fluid to be drawn into the engine
  • A sticking Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) valve
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • A defective turbocharger internal seal

Keep in mind that many of these issues are minor and can be easy to fix. Rest assured, a Jiffy Lube technician won’t do any work without first explaining the next steps and gaining your consent. 

BLUE SMOKE

This likely means that your engine is burning oil. When valve seals or piston rings wear out, oil can leak into the combustion chamber where it will burn. As soon as you notice the smoke, check your engine oil, just to be sure you’re not low.

But please don’t ignore it because left unchecked, it can turn into:

  • A safety issue: As the engine heats up, the temperature of the oil rises, too. If heated oil leaks onto the hot exhaust, it could catch fire.
  • A maintenance issue: When oil is leaking, it’s not providing adequate lubrication, so continuing to drive could cause serious (and expensive!) damage to your engine.

Naturally, when you suspect an oil leak, you should turn to Jiffy Lube. After all, Jiffy Lube knows oil! Count on the trained technician to inspect your vehicle, diagnose the source of the leak and provide an estimate before any work is done. You can feel confident that repairs will be made using parts that meet or exceed OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) specifications.

The Jiffy Lube technician will answer any questions and may suggest switching to a motor oil that’s specially formulated to stop leaks and provide engine wear protection, like Pennzoil® High Mileage. 

jiffy lube employee propping up car hood to inspect engine

REMEMBER, JIFFY LUBE IS HERE FOR YOU

Today’s vehicles are increasingly complex and it’s hard to keep up with all the innovations, technology and terminology. When you have a question — whether it’s about fixing something wrong or how preventive maintenance can help take care of a problem before it occurs — feel free to reach out and ask a Jiffy Lube technician.

READ MORE ABOUT IT

Jiffy Lube knows oil, and a whole lot more! Here’s an overview of our vehicle maintenance services.

Learn more about the fluids that maintain your vehicle’s performance here.

Return to this Tips in a Jiffy blog for more pro tips.

Please note: Not all services are offered at each Jiffy Lube location. Please check with your local Jiffy Lube service center or visit jiffylube.com for specific services offered.