If you’ve driven a vehicle very long, you know that all internal combustion engines release exhaust. You may have even seen puffs of colored smoke belching from the tailpipe (hopefully of someone else’s car). But who knew that the hues of smoke might actually tell you something about what’s going on with the auto? At Valencia Auto Performance and Simply Smog in Santa Clarita, California, our ASE certified technicians can help you decipher the colors, ensuring that your vehicle is working properly and can pass the state mandated smog check. You may even find a discount on our services by checking our specials tab.
Although all vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine expel exhaust, it should actually usually be colorless if the engine and exhaust system are working as they should. A colored exhaust may point to a problem, so it’s wise to make a mental note of the shade of the cloud following your car as you travel. Sharing this information with your mechanic will help him/her more quickly and accurately diagnose the issue. For example, white smoke coming from the tailpipe could mean that your car has a cooling system leak. This problem allows coolant to get into the engine. As it burns, it creates the whitewash you see. More importantly, this indicates that coolant is escaping from the area where it can do its job, leaving your car at risk of overheating. Also, if not corrected, it can cause damage such as blowing a head gasket or causing the engine to fail. Bring your auto in for assessment and repair as soon as you notice this issue. Should you notice blue exhaust coloring, you could have an oil leak in the engine. If this is true, there may not be sufficient oil in the correct places to properly lubricate and protect the engine. This can increase friction and wear, damaging your expensive engine and maybe even causing it to seize. Black smoke, too, can indicate trouble. Your vehicle is likely “running rich” or using large amounts of fuel. This could be caused by a clogged air filter, impeding your car’s ability to get enough air to balance the gas-to-air ratio. As the auto struggles to compensate and create adequate power, it burns extra fuel. You pay more to operate the vehicle, and you may damage your car. Further, it’s rough on the environment.
If you’re seeing colors as you drive and it’s not because you’re painting the town red tonight, have the exhaust experts at Valencia Auto Performance and Simply Smog check and repair your vehicle.