There are varied causes for white smoke from the engine. Cooler days can usually cause white exhaust smoke when a car is started. Steam condensation is generally the cause for this.

The white exhaust smoke becomes invisible when the condensation dissipates as the engine warms up. Internal coolant leaks are the possible causes of excessive white exhaust smoke can still be seen after the engine has warmed up.

Indicators of a low coolant reservoir level or an internal coolant leak include a sweet odour together with billowing white exhaust smoke. A milky and frothy appearance is seen in the engine oil when it is contaminated by an internal coolant leak.

Your car is having problems when white smoke from the exhaust is emitted. The varying types of smoke depend on the severity of the problem. However, a driver should need to understand the causes of white smoke from exhaust and ways to resolve the problem.

The various causes of white smoke from the engine include:

Leaking coolant

Leaking coolant can cause white smoke from the engine. A clear indication for a leaking coolant is the appearance of the white smoke when the car is running and not when it is started.

A mixed-up burning coolant is the main cause of this kind of white smoke. A heated car due to lack of coolant can also cause white smoke. A car should not be allowed to run when there’s a lack of coolant. Doing so will cause more serious problems to happen to the car.


Fuel pumping Injection is broken

Does diesel power your car? If it does, the fuel pumping injection timing is probably broken if a lot of white smoke happens when you start the car. It is not recommended to check or change the fuel injection on your own. This is a job that requires professional help from a mechanic.


Other car issues

A running car emitting a lot of white smoke could already be a sign of serious and costly problems. White smoke from the engine could mean:

  • Damaged fuel filter
  • Damaged cylinder head
  • Cracked or clogged engine
  • Damaged head gasket

It is recommended to have the car checked by a professional mechanic the moment you see a lot of white smoke when the car is running. One of the most cost-effective ways of maintaining your car is to have it regularly checked by a professional mechanic.

What does white smoke from engine mean? These are the possible reasons:

Cracked engine block

A cracked engine block is the most common cause of white smoke from exhaust at startup. A cracked engine block allows coolant leakage inside the cylinders and the engine combustion chamber.


Warped or cracked cylinder head

A cracked or warped cylinder head will produce a burned oil smell coming from the exhaust at startup. One way of checking is to see if the engine is overheating or coolant levels are low.


Damaged head gasket

A tailpipe dripping water is an indication of a leak in the head gasket. This means that raw fuel is pushed out by the misfired engine.

White smoke from engine happening during startup or when the car is running should not be ignored. It is already an indication that your car needs help.