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What does the smoke coming out of your car tell you?

- - in Car Engine, lubricants
Cars smoking

Every car owner must have come across a thick smoking automobile or their car must have been involved in releasing a thin or thick smoke at one point in time. There is always panic whenever this happens because lots of commuters neither know the meaning nor the causes of their car smoke.

The appearance of this smoke could be white or black, or a mixture. This mixture could be a thin-white smoke, thick-white smoke, thin-dark smoke, or thick-dark smoke.

Thin white smoke

This type of smoke usually occurs in the early stages of the day, when the engine of the car must have been idle for a while. When the car engine is started, it needs to warm up because of water vapour created from condensation in the car exhaust overnight. Now, as your car warms up, the already condensed water evaporates through the exhaust and creates a little white/grey looking smoke that feels like water when touched. After a short while, this smoke will stop coming out of the exhaust. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your vehicle if you encounter this. It is also a sign that the engine is in good shape.

Thick White Smoke

After warming your car and the thin smoke turns into a thick white one, it could mean your oil level is very low or you have a head gasket leak or any other internal engine damage. Usually, when the head gasket fails, the coolant system can mingle with both the air and fuel which are located at the combustion chambers. You should know that a cloud of smoke isn’t harmful to the engine. However, sustaining that for so long could in time utterly destroy an engine.

Thick white smoke can also be caused by changing your oil, especially from a mineral base oil to synthetic oil. This oil change could take some time before the engine re-adjusts itself to the new oil.

Thin dark smoke

A thin-dark smoke could be regarded as natural smoke when it comes from a diesel engine.

Thick dark smoke

A thick dark smoke occurs when there is so much gasoline going into the cylinder of an engine and there isn’t enough air coming in. This imbalance between the gasoline and air ratio is called a “rich fuel mixture”.  When this occurs, it means your vehicle is consuming more fuel than it should. meaning, you are spending more than you should. It could be the result of a faulty injector pump and a bad air filter. Take your vehicle to an expert for correction.

Other related issues 

Making use of poor-quality engine oil or an uncertified one by SON (Standard Organization of Nigeria) could be a dangerous decision. Some of the unblended /low-quality oils (mineral oil) do possess a small amount of water leading to engine damage. 

Some have the habit of mixing used oil with new oil. Used oil may contain particles and moisture that will harm the engine. This practice should be avoided.

Buying top-quality motor oil such as Lubcon oil with over 30years of experience will go a long way in making sure your engine is always at its best performance.

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