What Does the Color of My Tailpipe Smoke Signify?

While it may be startling, seeing exhaust smoke shoot out of your tailpipe can be a cause for concern. Whenever this happens, you should make a note of the color of the gas. The color of the emission can give you an insight into what is going on inside your vehicle. The colors of your exhaust smoke can be gray, blue, black, or white. Here is what the colors signify:


Gray Smoke

Gray exhaust smoke is the least common, but it can be a tough one to diagnose. If the fumes are a solid gray color, that may suggest that your transmission fluid or engine oil is burnt. It is essential to have your vehicle assessed by a professional to determine if you need any repairs.


Blue Smoke

Blue exhaust, similarly to gray exhaust, indicates that oil is burning. The first thing you should do is to ensure that you have an adequate amount of motor oil. While you inspect the oil, check for any signs of leaks. Leaks can be caused by leaking valve seals, broken piston rings, or worn cylinder walls. 


Black Smoke

Black exhaust smoke is an indication that your car is burning too much fuel and is more frequent with diesel engines. The dark smoke can be produced by various problems such as a clogged air filter, malfunctioning fuel injection system, or blocked manifold. 


White Smoke

If the white smoke you see is light and thin, it is most likely a natural occurrence from condensation. However, if it is a thick white or light gray cloud, this could signal a severe problem. Dense white smoke can suggest that your engine head gasket or engine block is compromised. You should immediately address these two mechanical issues because they could lead to hazardous situations such as engine overheating.


If your tailpipe smoke is an unusual color, our certified team can give you a complete evaluation of your exhaust system. We invite you to take your vehicle to West Side Car Care. Give us a call at (509) 955-2133 if you have any questions or concerns.