White Smoke from Exhaust Specialist Garages

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Are you seeing White Exhaust Smoke (especially when accelerating)?

White Exhaust Smoke is usually caused by coolant ('antifreeze') mixing with fuel - in other words, a coolant leak - a straightforward repair for our 10,384 local garages and mechanics. They're also happy to look at other jobs such as Servicing. Just post your job, compare quotes and reviews, and take your pick.

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Frequently asked questions

What does white smoke from my exhaust mean?

A little thin white smoke is probably nothing to worry about. However, thicker white smoke that's not restricted purely to starting the car indicates that engine coolant is getting into the cylinders and getting burnt. Typically, this means your head-gasket has cracked or warped. This is a serious fault that can't be ignored and will damage your engine if left untreated.

What does white smoke from a diesel engine mean?

As with a petrol engine, thick, consistent white smoke indicates coolant entering the cylinders and burning, caused by a warped or cracked head gasket. However, if the smoke has a blue tint, it means excess oil is being burnt, possibly by worn turbo seals. Remember, though, that older diesel cars tend to be a little smoky anyway.

What does white smoke when starting a car mean?

A little white smoke when a car is cold is very common. This is water vapour and is a by-product of fuel combustion, plus there may be moisture in your exhaust system. If the white smoke persists when the car is fully-warm then alternative issues - such as head gasket failure - need to be considered.
How much does it cost to fix white smoke from my exhaust?
If white smoke from your exhaust is ever-present (not just when starting) the most likely cause is a warped or cracked head gasket, allowing coolant into the engine. Replacing the head gasket is vital to prevent serious engine damage and typically costs £300-500.
If you realise that there is a large amount of white smoke coming from your exhaust there is likely a problem somewhere in your car.

It isn’t normal to see white smoke billowing from your car so make sure to follow the advice here and watch the video below to learn as much as possible about the problem.

We will cover the most common causes of white smoke coming from an exhaust, however, you should always trust a mechanic when they diagnose a problem as there is no guarantee that the issue you’re facing will be covered here.

We also have a video featuring a trained professional who will walk you through exhaust systems so make sure to get the expert view!

Likely causes of white smoke


Condensation is not a detrimental problem as it accumulates in most vehicles while idle or the engine is off.

Thin wisps of white smoke may be seen when you turn on the engine however as long as it clears quickly and there is only a small amount of white smoke, your car will be fine.

Fuel pump injection timing

If you own a car with a diesel engine and there is white smoke coming from the exhaust, there is a high probability that the fuel pump injection timing is off.

The fuel pump is responsible for pumping fuel into the cylinders of the engine and performs an extremely important function in the running of a car.

This problem is likely to effect older cars as fuel injection pumps are being phased out as a result of electrical pumps being developed by the manufacturers.

If you are seeing a large amount of white smoke coming from the exhaust, the fuel pump could be the culprit however the only way of finding out for sure is by having a proper diagnostic carried out by a mechanic.

Burning Coolant

Keeping a car cool is hard work as a cars engine relies on combustion and friction to move which generates a huge amount of heat.

That is why each car will have a cooling system to keep everything from catching on fire!

Having low levels of coolant is an issue as it is likely your engine will overheat, though a light on your dash should appear before this happens.

One potential cause of white smoke from an exhaust can be leaking coolant being burnt somewhere in the engine that it shouldn’t be.

Once more, the only way you can really find out what is causing white smoke to come from your exhaust, is to take your car to a mechanic to have to problem addressed properly.

If you are looking for car exhaust

Finding a mechanic you can trust to do a good job and charge a fair price, is not always easy which is why we simplified the process.

We work with a network of 8,000 mechanics and garages across the UK so we can find competitive diagnostic and exhaust reapir deals for you.

To find the best reapir service available for white smoke coming from your exhaust in your region;

  • Enter your car registration number
  • Give us a few details about your car and your requirements
  • We’ll send you a great selection of quotes from mechanics and garages in your area

    You can then compare the quotes and read reviews from previous customers to find the best clutch deal in your area, before booking the clutch repair online.
  • Debs from Foxley Garage explains the Exhausts system