Q:

What does black smoke coming out of an exhaust mean?

A:

Quick Answer

Black smoke that is coming out of an exhaust pipe is usually because something inside of the fuel injection system is dirty; it can also be the result of dirt somewhere in the exhaust system. Black smoke is a normal and harmless occurrence in vehicles that are powered by diesel fuel.

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Full Answer

When black smoke is present only when the vehicle is first started, it is generally harmless. It simply means that the engine is working harder to burn the fuel and the result is dirtier smoke coming out of the back.

Gray smoke is often a more concerning issue when it is coming out of the exhaust pipe. Gray smoke is a symbol of oil burning and may be cause for concern because the oil can easily cause a fire to start within the car. Even if the oil is not burning yet, it is often in the combustion chamber when there is gray smoke present.

Thick white smoke is a cause of serious concern when it is coming out of the tailpipe. Thick white smoke usually means that coolant is burning and the vehicle is likely suffering from some type of damage.

Thin white smoke is a normal occurrence and means the vehicle is functioning properly.

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Related Questions

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    Why does blue smoke come from my exhaust?

    A:

    Blue or gray smoke coming from an exhaust pipe indicates either an oil leak or piston wear. Typically, oil leaks pass the seals and get into the engine cylinder. From there, they come into contact with gasoline and burns, producing blue smoke. When oil leaks into the cylinder, it produces rough idle, misfires and could affect the spark plugs, according to CarsDirect.

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  • Q:

    What do puffs of smoke mean coming from the exhaust of a car?

    A:

    White puffs of smoke when starting a car with a cold engine on a cool, damp morning are normal. They are due to water condensation in the exhaust system and engine. As the condensation warms, it creates a white vapor similar in nature to that formed by human breath on a cold day. It disappears as soon as the condensation evaporates.

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  • Q:

    Why does my car emit black exhaust smoke?

    A:

    Black smoke from a car's exhaust is a sign that the engine is running too rich. The fuel is burning with incomplete combustion, and the black cloud includes the unburned carbon compounds. The NSW EPA says this is a sign the car is not properly maintained or poorly tuned. It is creating unnecessary air pollution and costing the driver more in fuel to operate.

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  • Q:

    What does it mean if water is coming out of a car's tailpipe?

    A:

    Liquid dripping out of a car's tailpipe can be either normal or serious, and those who are concerned should gather some of the liquid and try to identify it; if the liquid is water, then this is part of a normal process of moisture condensation within the combustion chamber and exhaust system. Water vapor is naturally created as a result of the combustion that takes place within a car's engine, and when temperature conditions are right, the water vapor will condense into drops rather than evaporating. Those who are unsure if the liquid coming out of their car's tailpipe is actually water may want to take their vehicle to a reputable mechanic to have the issue diagnosed.

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