Engine low coolant light/overheating engine with white smoke
Used car from dealership. No problems during test drive. On way home, engine smoke followed by engine temp rising momentarily into the red. Lots of condensation and moisture on engine and inside of hood; seems clear fluid. No pools underneath car engine on garage floor. Hopefully, you folks will tell me just to fill the reservoir with coolant? Vehicle sat outside in elements in Micigan for almost 4 months.
The condensation inside the hood would bee from the coolant boiling out of the reservoir when it overheated. However, there must be a reason for the overheating and I can imagine it is not good. If you JUST purchased this car, you should be protected by the Lemon Law. Return the car to the dealership and insist that THEY find the problem or supply you with another car.
If you have had it a while, then find good mechanic before you warp the head and trash the motor.
a 6ya expert can help you resolve that issue over the phone in a minute or two.
best thing about this new service is that you are never placed on hold and get to talk to real repairmen in the US.
the service is completely free and covers almost anything you can think of (from cars to computers, handyman, and even drones).
click here to download the app (for users in the US for now) and get all the help you need. goodluck!
- If you need clarification, ask it in the comment box above.
- Better answers use proper spelling and grammar.
- Provide details, support with references or personal experience.
Tell us some more! Your answer needs to include more details to help people.You can't post answers that contain an email address.Please enter a valid email address.The email address entered is already associated to an account.Login to postPlease use English characters only.
Tip: The max point reward for answering a question is 15.
White smoke may indicate an internal coolant leak or low coolant reservoir levels. Coolant leaks can also leak into the oil of your car causing it to be frothy or milky looking smoke. You might have a cracked head gasket, engine block, or cylinder head which are all caused by overheating.
If you are in the market for a used car then this is a great 30 minutes inspection guide on how to inspect a car,truck,SUV or van from bumper to bumper.
I will append more tips and time saving inspection HOW TO's on this page so PLEASE bookmark my articles.
Do not forget to give me a positive rating if this guide is helpful to you.
1)Make the test drive appointment with the seller in the EARLY MORNING hour. Inspect the car when it is COMPLETELY cold.
Cold engine will ran rough during the closed loop cycle (warm up phase). This is the best time to inspect for worn motor and transmission mounts.
2) RECORD color of all fluid on the vehicle.
DO NOT ASSUME
motor oil is clear to black transmission fluid is lite pink to dark red coolant is green or orange for GM Dexcool
Dip a small sample of the fluids on a WHITE printer paper and compare it to any drip on the ground after 15 minutes of warm up time.
3)Look for oil leak(s) under the car after 15+ minutes of warm up time.
Front seal is inches below the harmonic balancer (center of the pulley system on the crank)
Rear main seal is no visible from the outside (It is where the engine meet the transmission casing)
Front seal and rear seal leak(s) can set you back hundreds on labor. Some seller will tell you the rubber seal only cost $12 or less (which is true) but the labor is at $90+ per hour.
A top notch professional auto repair shop can complete the job on a rear wheel drive vehicle in under 1 1/2 hours (front and rear seals).
Front wheel drive vehicle is a 2+ hours job.
Once again DO NOT ASSUME
Lite brown to black fluid is motor oil
Pink to dark red is transmission fluid
Compare the fluid on the white printer paper so you will have a good idea on which fluid is leaking.
A manual transmission clutch system can be destroy by only few ounce of motor oil seepage from the rear main seal.
An average clutch job is over $260!!!!
4)Inspect the color of the exhaust smoke at initial startup.
Few minutes of lite blue or black smoke is OK for high mileage vehicle. (75,000+ miles)
BLUE smoke is a sign of worn oil seal on the engine head. It SHOULD be clear out after 2-5 minutes of warm up time.
BLACK smoke is a sign of engine is running rich. You should monitor the smoke level. It should reduce to an acceptable level after warm up 5-10 minutes.
lite WHITE smoke is OK until 10 minutes of warm up time. If there is WHITE smoke after 15 minutes of warm up time then you should do a coolant compression test to make sure the head gasket able to blown.
5)Look for miss-match tires
This is a sign for low budget owner or car flipper.
6)After 15+ minutes of warm up time then take the vehicle for local and highway ran.
Test the car on a hilly road to listen for dieseling (ping) sound from the engine.
WORN engine will produce louder dieseling sound.
A totally worn engine will also vibrate a lot more. You have to factor is worn motor and transmission mount.
Have your friend drive a second vehicle right behind you to look for color of the smoke during the test drive during the test drive.
7)On 1996+ vehicle,look for Check Engine or Service Engine Soon light.
MAKE SURE this lamp does light for few second during initial startup.
If there is code stored in the computer then you will need an OBDII code reader to pull the codes.
8)READ the state emission report carefully!
HC CO CO2 O2 NOx
Look for the upper limit parameters and compare to the RECORDED TEST RESULTS.
9)Check for pull on suspension noise during test drive,
Do the re-bound shock test on all four shocks.
10) Inspect for damaged or replaced radiator support or hood.
Heavy frontal collision can cause frame damage.
Uni-body vehicle may not show frame damage with visual inspection.
Avoid car that has combination of frontal AND roof damage.
Check Kelly Blue Book for private seller value and Carfax before making the offer.
Good luck on your vehicle search and please email me if you have any question or comment on how to improve this inspection article.
It is common to see white exhaust smoke when first starting a car, especially on cooler days. This is generally steam caused by condensation. As the engine warms up and the condensation dissipates the white exhaust smoke (steam) is no longer seen. If excessive white exhaust smoke is present well after the engine warms up, it is necessary to have the car inspected for possible internal coolant leaks. Indicators of an internal coolant leak include billowing white exhaust smoke accompanied by a sweet odor or a low coolant reservoir level. An internal coolant leak can also contaminate the engine oil giving it a frothy, milky appearance. Even small amounts of coolant entering the combustion chamber will produce white exhaust smoke.
One of the main causes of white exhaust smoke and coolant loss is a cracked or warped cylinder head, a cracked engine block, or head gasket failure caused by overheating. A cracked head may allow coolant to leak into one or more cylinders or into the combustion chamber of the engine. Dirty coolant, a poorly maintained cooling system, a low coolant level, or a non-functioning cooling fan can cause engine overheating. In addition, engine wear can eventually cause the gaskets to lose their capacity to seal properly allowing internal coolant loss. Intake manifold gasket and head gasket failures are two of the most common sources of internal coolant loss caused by engine wear.
Never remove the radiator cap or coolant reservoir cap while the engine is hot or running as it can cause serious injury; always allow the car to cool down completely first. Checking for a low coolant level in the reservoir is the first step in determining if coolant loss is causing the white exhaust smoke. If the coolant reservoir is at the proper level but excessive white exhaust smoke is present, a cooling system pressure check is required to determine where, if any, coolant leaks are located. THESE LEAKS WILL CAUSE SEVERE ENGINE DAMAGE! Have the car inspected immediately.
White smoke is usually caused by coolant leaking into a cylinder and being burnt in the engine. Check the coolant level to be sure you're not too low and have a shop check the cooling system with a "Block Checker" . If you have overheated the engine it probably has a leaking head gasket or a cracked head which is common to overheating Chrysler V-6 and V-8 engines.
If your test drive was short, but your drive home is longer, it could be a coolant leak. Coolant creates a thick white smoke when it burns. If it's coming out of the tailpipe, then it must be coming through the engine at some point, possibly from a failing head gasket.
A fairly inexpensive test for this is to drain and flush the radiator, refilling it with water, running the engine to warm it up, then drain and flush again, refilling it with water. Be sure to drain and flush the overflow reservoir as well if you can. And please be careful working with a hot radiator - steam burns skin very easily. This should remove at least 75% of the ethyl glycol antifreeze that causes the smoke.
Now, when you run the car up to temperature, if it still smokes white, but much, much less, then it is in fact coolant leaking into the engine and being vaporized and pushed out through the exhaust. The most likely point of failure is the head gasket - which means a several hundred dollar fix.
1st before you drive the car make sure the coolant level is ok,check oil. If the smoke coming out the muffler is white you could have a bad intake gasket or head gasket, check to see if there is coolant in oil, if the oil looks like chocolate milk you have an internal coolant leak. The lights are probably telling you your engine is overheating and low on coolant.