Why Is There White Smoke Coming Out Of My Tailpipe

Posted in Ignition Systems
  • We have a 90′ Cavalier, we thought we blew a head gasket so we got that replaced and its definitely good. It sounds like a misfire of the spark plugs so we took them out and checked them all one by one and they all seem fine and its a good spark, no cracks or anything. The coil pack is good. The car doesnt have a distributor cap so it can’t be that, the vaccum lines are all good. Theres white smoke coming out the exhaust. The car will run but it jumps and is really rough. We put gas treatment in it. What else could it be?

    There are 6 Answers for "Why Is There White Smoke Coming Out Of My Tailpipe"

    1. Paul A says:

      When the head gasket was replaced, did anyone check to see if the head was warped? It is possible that the new head gasket blew out. It could also be a cracked head or cylinder (but not likely).

      Wait for the car to cool down, take off the radiator cap and start it.
      I bet anti-freeze shoots out.
      If this happens, the problem is one of the above mentioned.

      You could also go to Auto Zone and get their cooling system pressure check tool. It goes where the radiator cap goes and has a pressure gauge on it. You pump the hand pump and stop at the correct pressure. Then you watch the needle to see if it looses pressure. If it does loose pressure you are right back to looking at the above possibilities.

      Oh I also forgot to ask if it was a 4 or 6 cylinder?

    2. manuel n says:

      White smoke is due to water getting in to a cylinder from a bad gasket, cracked block or a cracked head. Won’t show on the plugs. Water acts like steam cleaner in combustion chamber.

    3. Chev M says:

      may seem like a stupid annswer but was head gasket put on right with numbers facing down if it was id go with the cracked or warpped head these heads were good for this

    4. Joe says:

      white smoke means you have a leak from your head …water is entering into the cyl.important you check your oil…if theres water in it itll look like mud. redo your head gaskey and make sure the head is not warped

    5. dusk_69gto says:

      did anyone check the rings on pistons or the valve guides while the heads were off. it could be one of those. White smoke its burning oil somewhere

    6. Jeff S says:

      White smoke is water in exhaust. Blue smoke is oil in exhaust.

      I’d question the replacement on the head gasket. I remember a buddy who suspected a blown head gasket on his truck. But when he removed the cylinder head he discovered that the head gasket was actually still good, it was the cylinder head that was bad (crack). So if the shop that replaced the gasket did just that they may have not even checked the block and cylinder heads for warping or cracks.

      A cracked or warped cylinder would cause the same symptoms of a head gasket (white smoke, oil water mixing) and it would also cause a misfire, and it sounds like your car has a misfire.

      I recommend doing a compression check on your engine. This will show you exactly what cylinder is misfiring (if there is one misfiring). Most likely a leaky gasket (again) or cracked/warped head or block.

      Good Luck!!