Question about 1998 Chrysler Sebring

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I have grey smoke coming from my exhaust if I sit in traffic for very long. I know it's oil because I can smell it. Does this mean I need the rings replaced or even possibly a new engine? Could it be anything else that would be less expensive to repair?

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A compression test will tell.
If you have a lot of miles on it, using oil is usually rings. Most shops won't just replace the rings, as everything is probably worn out. (Unless you are lucky and have one cylinder with a broken ring and low compression.)

Posted on May 07, 2010

Testimonial: "Thanks for the info! Noone else has suggested a compression test. At least I have a starting place now!"

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3 Answers

2005 BMWi uses oil. Smoke comes out of exhaust when car is started and if accelerated. Smoke does not smell like burnt oil - the oil is synthetic. What is the possible cause of this?


its burning oil! could be worn out piston rings/bore or valve stem seals/guides but check the engine breather system is not blocked first

Apr 10, 2018 | Cars & Trucks

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What is the cause of white smoke from the exhaust and fuel smell?


Not knowing the age and mileage of the car my answer can only be a general one and as always if you are in any doubt get a good mechanic to look at it. Keep checking both the oil and coolant. The loss could be two separate issues.
You will need to check the smoke in a bit more detail. Does the smoke linger or does in disappear quickly? Thin smoke that disappears quickly is not something you need to worry about unless it gets worse and cold weather makes exhaust fumes more visible.
"White" smoke can actually be one of three colours. White, blue or grey. Get a helper to sit in the car and gently press the accelerator pedal steadily for 2 to 3 seconds then release. Repeat 2 or 3 times. Watch the smoke to see if has a blue or grey tint, or whether it is white. Each colour suggests a different problem. See the photo below.

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Jan 18, 2018 | Cars & Trucks

2 Answers

1996 Saturn sl2 smoke problem not head gasket no antifreeze seeping in valve cover gasket leaks and losing about a quart and a half of oil no blue smoke kinda white but heavy a little stops driving


White coming out the tail pipes is coolant/water. Doesn't mean the head gasket is blown, but you'll wish it was. Could be a cracked head. They can crack inside the intake or exhaust port. This would still give you a good compression reading. If in the intake, you would have a misfire. Exhaust you wouldn't. As far as the blue goes. It is mostly white in color, with a hint of blue color. Loosing that much oil would be a major leak or the rings are shot. Rings being shot, you would see that blueish tint in the smoke.

Aug 07, 2016 | Saturn SL2 Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

Excessive exhaust smoke


You may have a broken ring or scored cylinder wall and piston. Have a cylinder leak down test performed to confirm this. Other causes can be a plugged crankcase ventilation system causing pressure to build in the engine, if that is the case the air cleaner box should have oil in it. The grey color of the smoke means you are burning a lot of oil.

Mar 14, 2014 | Mercedes-Benz Cars & Trucks

2 Answers

Engine smoke


Hi Sean, I'm in agreement with Wes, unless you drove through a puddle or river or somehow got water on the hot parts of your engine? When you say there's smoke coming from the engine, where is it coming from? Is the smoke coming from the exhaust tail pipe or is something leaking from somewhere in the engine compartment and dropping onto something hot and burning off there? If its the latter, have a look around the engine where the 'smoke' is most dense and look for dampness from, for example a tappet cover, a leakage in the cooling system or from the power steering system. If the smoke is coming from the tailpipe, as Wes has said there can be several reasons. The catalytic converter converts the harmful gas into water droplets which become vapour and looks like steam from start up until the engine is partially warmed. If the smoke is blackish grey it will usually mean that too much fuel is being fed into the combustion chamber and is not being burned completely. In the event of that happening a fault code should be recorded, but as you have not told us the vehicle you have we don't know how old it is, or if it is fitted with diagnostics. If it has a cat it should have. If the smoke is bluish grey the indication is oil burn. To test that, have someone sit in the car, start the engine and hold the RPM at about 2000. You go to the rear of the vehicle and if the smoke is that colour (bluish grey) suspect either worn piston rings or valve stem oil seals. Don't keep the engine at that RPM for more than 30 seconds, as we don't want to upset the neighbours or damage the engine. Please get in touch with us and let us know more details Regards John (and Wes)

Oct 14, 2012 | Cars & Trucks

2 Answers

My mazda 626 has a strong potent smell coming from the exhaust


You don't mention what that smell is reminiscent of?

You don't mention the colour of the "smoke" and you didn't say whether the engine is petrol or diesel?

You don't mention whether the road behaviour/performance is normal?

White smoke is almost always steam or in the case of a diesel it could be an unburned fuel mist, grey/black is excess fuel and blue or grey/blue is burning oil.

Some steam is fairly normal until the engine and exhaust system is hot but excessive amounts could be one symptom of head gasket trouble. If the engine is drinking coolant and sending it through the exhaust as steam it will sometimes smell spicy.

Burning oil smells a bit like burned eggs in the frying pan.

If the car hasn't ultra-low sulphur oil and fuel the catalytic converter will convert sulphur traces into hydrogen sulphide - the bad egg gas...

Sep 27, 2017 | 1998 Mazda 626

3 Answers

Grey smoke coming from exhaust and oil in the exhaust pipe


Grey or blueish smoke indicates that you are burning oil, usually a sign of worn piston rings.

Keep an eye on the oil level in the vehicle

Nov 12, 2009 | Mitsubishi Lancer Cars & Trucks

2 Answers

Smoke and oil smell at start up sometimes


I have a 1989 chevy silverado. my dad bought it new and never drove it. he wanted to pay it off first. after 5 years it had 15K miles on it. it then smoked everytime he cranked it after it had sit a while. The lack of driving it caused the rubber valve seals to dry rot. so now when it sits, oil seeps down between the valve and the seal and enters the piston chamber. when he cranks it, a poof of blue smoke blows out the exhaust but quickly disappears after the the initial poof of smoke.
this may be your problem also if you have abnormally low milage on the vehicle

Jun 29, 2009 | 2001 Ford Mustang

1 Answer

Blue smoke


sorry to say blue smoke is oil and with what you've described sounds like the oil rings on the pistons have given up the ghost, time for a new engine or a rebuild sorry for the bad news. valve stem seals are the only other thing that will cause exhaust smoke but only when you first start the car never while running. hope i have been of some assistance.

May 15, 2009 | 2000 Dodge Durango

1 Answer

Cannot find the carburettor - where is it please?


if it's a 2001 model it is fuel injected which means it doesn't have a carby. the white grey smoke is burning oil which means you might want to keep an eye on you're oil level but the strong smell of fuel and lack of acceleration could be caused by a fuel leak somewhere

Mar 15, 2009 | 2001 Daewoo Lanos

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