Q: Q: White smoke coming out of exhaust

asked by on

Car has an idle problem, and there is white smoke coming out of the exhaust.

White smoke is an indicator that the engine is burning coolant. The fact that the engine idles poorly points toward a problem with the cylinder head; most commonly, the head gaskets. When the gaskets fail, a leak between the cylinder(s), and the cooling system is common. On the intake stroke, the pressure in the cylinder is less than the cooling system. Coolant will enter. On the power stroke, compression is lost to the cooling system, resulting in a loss of power. In any case, the cooling system will need to be inspected. I would not drive the car like this, as you can damage the engine further. YourMechanic can send a top-rated technician to your home or office to diagnose and repair your white smoke concern.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1,000 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. Q: White smoke coming out of exhaust

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: Battery & oil light come on after braking awhile at red light

There are a number of things that may cause the vehicle to stall while driving. This can happen for any number of reasons such as fuel supply issues such as a bad fuel pump, vacuum leaks, electrical faults or various...

Q: Smoke and burning rubber behind the steering wheel

There are a number of things that may cause a burning smell, but the most important part is that it could be something potentially dangerous that could start a fire or cause a failure of some kind in traffic. I...

Q: Sudden pulling at speeds over 40

Hi There, This may be caused by a number of things such as worn control arm bushings, bad tie rod ends (as you suspect) or even a bad wheel bearing. Any of these components when worn out or loose may...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
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...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...