Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: After driving from traffic light, engine starts smoking

asked by on

When I am beginning to drive after sitting at a traffic light, my car’s engine started smoking. I learned later that one of the spark plugs had oil on it after I had them changed. I used an oil stop leak product (Sta-bil), but it only made a small minor difference. I had been using a quart of oil every week. Now it is down to 20 ounces. It is past due for an inspection. I doubt that I can afford to replace or rebuild the engine in my car. Can you give me any alternatives or solutions for this smoking-engine problem?

Hello. Thanks for writing in about your 1999 Saturn SW2. If the only issue with the car is that there is oil getting into the spark plug holes, then most of the time this is a leaking valve cover gasket issue. This is a common problem on a lot of cars and causes the engine to run rough.

This will cause a short in the ignition system which causes it to run like this. I usually check the valve cover gasket to see if that is where the oil is coming from. If it is, then it simply needs to be replaced, and the spark plugs and wires should be replaced also. If you plan on having this repaired, consider YourMechanic, as a certified mechanic can come to your home or office to diagnose and repair the engine smoke problem.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. After driving from traffic light, engine starts smoking

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Could i have caused an engine modulation?

We have all at one time or another crossed spark plug wires. To date, it has not caused a problem other than the misfire from the crossed wires. So rest assured, it is highly unlikely that this caused any lasting...

Q: Engine racing too high

The coolant reservoir will need to be checked to see if it is leaking or if the engine has an overheating problem. The high idle may be due to a vacuum leak at a hose or a faulty throttle body...

Q: orange triangle blinking in dashboard lightsystem

Hi there, thanks for writing in about your 1999 Mercedes E320. Most common cause in Mercedes of that era is the brake light switch. I would have a diagnostic run on the warning light in order to be certain of...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...