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What the Different Exhaust Colors Say About the Health of Your Engine

Did you know that the color of your vehicle’s exhaust says a lot about the health of the engine? In fact, the fact that you can see the exhaust alone indicates that your engine is in trouble. Normally, you don’t see exhaust pouring out of your tailpipe. If you do, Trinity Auto Care warns that your engine could be in serious trouble and might even need to be replaced depending on how bad the damage is. Let’s talk about the different exhaust colors below and what they mean.

Black Exhaust

When you see black exhaust flowing out of the tailpipe, this means that your engine is burning fuel. You may have leaking fuel injectors, an open fuel pump, fuel leaking out of the hoses, or a problem in the combustion chamber. Regardless, your engine should never burn so much fuel that you end up with black exhaust coming out of the tailpipe. If you do, this is a sign of a serious fuel leak that could cause an engine fire or sparks or flames coming out of your tailpipe.

Blue/Gray Exhaust

Blue or gray exhaust might mean that you need to replace your engine. When the exhaust is this color, your engine is hemorrhaging oil. Consequently, as the engine hemorrhages the oil it loses its protection and additional engine damage occurs. Oftentimes, this is a sign of a serious oil leak in the engine gasket that is allowing oil into your vehicle’s cylinders. As a consequence, the spark plugs are igniting the oil along with the air and fuel that are in the cylinders. This is not normal.

White Exhaust

Finally, when you see a ton of white exhaust flowing out of the tailpipe, you may have cracked your head gasket and you have engine coolant spraying all over the engine. This can also make white steam pour out from underneath the hood and your vehicle will overheat. This is a serious engine problem that takes a lot of work to repair. As with an oil leak, the coolant leak can cause additional damage because your engine will get too hot. In fact, a severely hot engine will crack the engine block.

Trinity Auto Care in White Bear Lake, MN, or Blaine, MN, can help. If you see more than just steam coming out of your exhaust pipe on a cold night, give the shop closest to you a call for an engine inspection. We will find out which fluid is hemorrhaging inside of the engine and let you know what it will take to fix the leak.

Photo by khunkorn via Canva Pro
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