Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: My truck wont start. I was driving it earlier and a big cloud of white smoke came out of the exhaust and it completely shut off

asked by on

My truck wont start. I was driving it earlier and a big cloud of white smoke came out of the exhaust and it completely shut off.

My car has 178000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hello and thank you for contacting YourMech...

Hello and thank you for contacting YourMechanic. White cloud of smoke from the exhaust means that the engine coolant has gotten into the combustion chambers of the engine and is burning the coolant. This could be caused by a blown head gasket, warped or cracked head, a corrosion burn in the timing cover behind the water pump, or a cracked block. To check for a head gasket, get a block tester tool. Put the blue fluid into the tester and install the plunger. With the engine running at cold temperatures, remove the radiator cap. When you see steam come from the radiator, place the tester over the steam and squeeze the plunger. This will suck the steam into the tester. If there is any carbon deposits (gasoline) in your coolant, then the blue color will turn yellow or orange. If you have a yellow or orange color, then the head gasket is blown and needs replaced. If you need further assistance troubleshooting your vehicle, then seek out a technician, such as one from YourMechanic, that can assist you with your vehicle.

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

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: My car will not start - 2003 Toyota Matrix

Hi there. Unfortunately, once there is oil and coolant mixed, there is the possibility of a cracked cylinder head/block or a blown cylinder head gasket. This is a serious condition as the internal damage generally snowballs into worse; the main...

Q: I'm changing my a/c blower motor and I need help getting it out

Once you removed all the screws then rotate the blower motor clockwise to disconnect the blower motor from the housing. You can then remove the blower motor. When installing the new motor you have to insert and turn it counterclockwise...

Q: When I go above 50 mph my truck starts to shake.

This is likely a tire "out of balance" issue. Most vehicles have a certain speed where an out-of-balance condition from a rotating component (wheel, driveshaft, etc.) will resonate, or "echo" the out of balance condition - causing vibration, and even...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
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...