Q: White smoke coming out from exhaust, what can that be?

asked by on September 25, 2016

It is a 2010 BMW 550i GT, white smoke coming out exhaust when starting. When driving, hitting gas. Is it head gaskets or CCV valves?

My car has 82 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Smoke from engine or exhaust Inspection $79.99 - $89.99 Get a Quote

Hello, thanks for writing in. I’d be happy to help.

White smoke from the exhaust can be caused by a few things. First off, keep in mind that white smoke coming from the tailpipe after a cold start can be steam from water condensation in the vehicle’s exhaust system. The steam will usually go away once the car has warmed up. It may also be possible that the issue is related to the head gasket. A bad head gasket can cause smoke from the tailpipe if coolant enters any of the combustion chambers. If this is the case the vehicle may also be overheating. I would check the oil filler cap and dipstick for any signs of coolant contamination that may indicate the possibility of a blown head gasket. If the engine is not overheating then it may be possible that an issue with the CCV/PCV system is causing the smoke. A bad CCV valve can also cause smoke from the tailpipe if any oil from the crankcase gets sucked in by the engine through the PCV system. I would start by trying to figure out if the issue is head gasket related or not, and go from there.

If you would like help, consider having an expert automotive technician from YourMechanic come to your home or office to inspect and diagnose this issue for you, and make any repairs as needed.

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

What others are asking

Drive-by-wire throttle problem

Hello. The symptoms you describe may be caused by issues with the throttle body or with the idle air control valve. The drive by wire system controls an electric throttle body which feeds the engine air. If the throttle body...

Car keeps popping out of first gear.

Hi and thanks for contacting YourMechanic. What is wrong with your vehicle is the transmission shifter detent springs are worn and making the gear shifter not stay locked in. The detent springs are located in the top of the transmission...

My steering wheel is shaking

Just because the wheel has weights attached to it doesn't mean it is balanced correctly. My guess is that the wheels/tires are out of balance. However, the problem could also be worn steering/suspension parts or tires. A bent rim...

Problems after transmission put in

Check to see if there is warranty coverage on the work that was performed. It is not clear if the issue is the engine jerking or the transmission jerking, or both. The noise, of course, is a clear indication of...

My 2010 dodge charger will not start and there's a lightning bolt icon that is illumated... Also the check engine light has came o

Hi Tiffany. Thanks for contacting us today. Inside the owner manual of your 2010 Dodge Charger, there will be a section that describes what each warning indicator light means. The lightning bolt is an indication that something within the charging...

Car makes noise, automatic window switch, and wiper fluid sprayer not working

A car can make a wide variety of noises for a wide variety of reasons, especially under load, so I would recommend having the vehicle driven by a knowledgable technician so that a conclusive diagnosis of the noise can be...

Car runs rough, with choking sound - 2008 BMW 528i xDrive

I'm not sure what you mean by "choking sound." If by that you mean "wheezing", this could be an air leak in the intake - loose or leaking vacuum hose - a common problem with high mileage engines. The Service...

My car jerks when it almost comes to a complete stop

Hello, What you are describing may be a result of a faulty speed sensor, potentially low transmission fluid or a even a faulty transmission control solenoid. As your vehicle travels down the road, the computer analyzes data being sent by...

2010 Dodge Journey shakes in gear during idle

Hi Margarito. In most cases, when your car is vibrating at idle or slow speeds while in gear, it's caused by a vacuum leak, loose motor mounts or in some instances, a worn out CV joint on the front end....

Related articles

A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 BMW 3-Series
The The 2012 BMW 3-Series has been wildly popular in the US since it was first introduced in 1975. This series of luxury sedans sets itself apart from other luxury models with its superior performance and driving dynamics. No matter...
A Buyer's Guide to the 2012 BMW X3
If If you like high-end SUVs, the 2012 BMW X3 is definitely worth taking a look at. It’s a great mixture of luxury, utility and convenience. Key Features The Servotronic power steering on this SUV is excellent for giving you...
BMW Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Car Program
Shopping Shopping for a used BMW vehicle often leads many drivers to consider certified pre-owned options. BMW is one of many manufacturers that have a certified pre-owned (CPO) program. Each car manufacturer structures their CPO program differently; read on to...