White Smoke From Exhaust On Startup & Accelerating? Here Are 6 Reasons Why

It is the mandate of everyone to take care of his automotive by taking the appropriate measures whenever something unusual is noticed. This helps to keep it in a stable condition for a longer period of time.

To do it, there are several reasons or symptoms that you can observe before a mechanical breakdown happens to your car. These symptoms might include observation of white smoke from the exhaust when accelerating.

Though it might be a sign of a problem developing, that might be normal for some cases. Let’s now see what such a sign might mean when observed.

White Smoke From Exhaust When Accelerating


Observing white smoke from the exhaust of your car might not be a usual thing. However, these might happen after some time while using the automotive. For some reasons, it might be a normal thing, but after a while, the smoke might persist thus implying a sign of a problem that might be developing.

You could be in a position to do a repair for some cases especially when the problem is minor or in adverse conditions, looking for an expert could be a solution, here are some of the reasons that might be causing your car to behave in that manner.


During cold days, it is common to see white smoke from exhaust when accelerating your car. This happens due to condensation that might have accumulated in the exhaust and the start of the engine tries to burn of the matter. The white smoke is expected to be seen for some few seconds or perhaps a minute if it persists.

For car owners who might be living in warm climatic conditions, such an observation might try to challenge their minds especially when they move to cold places. For those who have lived in the cold places, this is not something to worry about since they are used to.

However, the production of the white is expected to happen for just less then an hour. In case the smoke persists, then there might be a problem with your car. This now calls for more attention to identify the problem and subjection of the appropriate remedy.


Persistence of white smoke from the exhaust even after you allow your car to warm up well might be as a result of coolant leaking internally. The smoke might be accompanied by a sweet odor. Such a sweet smell is an indication of the coolant leaking which is contaminating the oil of the car’s engine.

Coolants leak due to a crack in the engine. The crack allows the coolant to drop thus mixing with the oil. When the car is being accelerated, a white smoke tends to appear. This is a clear indication that the coolant has entered the combustion chamber thus causing the milky-like smoke to appear.

With continued use of the car as the smoke level increases, the level of the coolant in the car continues to decrease. This leads to the car’s engine being overheated. The final result is a fail in the car’s head gasket due to poor sealing while overheating. This now calls for an immediate action before the engine gets worn out leading to heavy expenditures to purchase a complete new one.


Fuel leak from under the car
Fuel leaks from under the car.

Piston rings and valve seals are responsible for preventing the oil from leaking. However whenever they allow the oil to leak, they cause the production of the white smoke when the car is accelerating. This happens since the combustion is now involving the fuel together with the oil.

The problem will lead to the reduction in the oil level where the cooling effect of the car shall be affected. In adverse conditions, the car’s engine shall face mechanical breakdowns due to the overheating. Most cars that have been abandoned by owners to lie uselessly at their homesteads is as a result of neglects when such signs are noticed.

Some car owners might try to fix such problems by their own when they notice it. Such attempts might be risk to do especially trying removing the coolant reservior cap while the vehicle is still running. This will increase the temperatures of the engine thus causing more injuries.


Car mechanic checking faulty car injectors
Car mechanic checking faulty car injectors.

Occasions might happen that the fuel injectors have some problems. These problems include, the injectors being stuck open or leaking especially at the o-ring. These leakage shall cause the combustion chamber to receive excess fuels. The combustion of the excess fuels might exceed the chamber’s ability thus resulting in the formation of the white smoke.

For appropriate operation, full combustion should take place in the car’s engine. However, poor combustion would lead to a car experiencing difficulties to operate and might be seen not to be strong especially when it reaches hilly areas or when carrying heavy loads.


This is a problem that is more common to diesel engines. It does not imply that there is a problem with the engine but it only has an issue with how the injector pump timing was done. Timing is an essential thing at the engine control unit for it determines the rate of fuel combustion which finally determines the amount of energy the car receives for operation.

In case of poor injector pump timing, complete combustion is not achieved. This leads to low energy production and is revealed by the production of white smoke from the exhaust when the car is accelerated.


Apart from any crackdowns that might affect other parts of the car’s engine, the entire engine may crack causing the production of the white smoke from its exhaust. Now this will bring everything to a mess.

Oil is going to mix with fuel and during the combustion, the white smoke is going to be seen. In addition to the white smoke, the car won’t be able to do a complete combustion thus reducing its ability to operate.

This is the worst case that will lead to spending of a lot of cash to bring the situation of the car to a stable state. The situation will now require an expert to identify where the problem is then do a rectification, otherwise, you won’t be able to do it by yourself.


Having looked at the causes of the white smoke from exhaust when accelerating you can realize that some require experts while for others, you can do it by yourself. However, it is advisable to look for a mechanic if you don’t know what to do. otherwise you will cause more harm if you guess on what to do.

Below are some of the ways we can do to correct the defaults:


Check for engine cracks that could be the source of the leak.
Check for engine cracks that could be the source of the leak.

Whenever you suspect a default in your car’s engine that might be causing the white smoke from the exhaust when accelerating, you first begin by checking on the level of the coolant.

The main reason why the white smoke is seen is due to the coolant leaking and entering the combustion chamber. Therefore, if it is leaking, it implies that it level should automatically drop.

To be assured that it might have entered the combustion chamber, you will realize that its level is low while at the same time you don’t see any traces of the coolant under your car.

Expert Tip: Leaking coolant could as a result of the head gasket cracking, or a blockage of the cylinder head or engine. To avoid the issue of guessing, it is advisable to purchase a leak detector kit that eases the detection by applying chemistry.

In order to check the coolant level, you begin by opening the hood. This should be done when the car’s engine is cooled. In case it is hot. you should give it around an hour or more to cooled down. The car should be parked on a level ground to ensure that you get the correct measurement.

Once all these is done, proceed to open the coolant reservoir tank and check the level of the coolant by looking into it chamber. The chamber has two indications, the low” and the ‘full’ levels. In case the level is low, proceed to fill the reservoir till the level is full.


The next procedure is to ensure that every part of the engine has no crack that might be causing the leakage. To achieve this with ease simply use a pressure check. You apply pressure to the system till the specified range is attained.

The system should be able to sustain that pressure for at least two minutes, but it can’t, then there should be a leakage. To identify the exact position of the leakage, you follow the following steps:


A crack on the intake manifold gasket implies insufficient supply of both the coolant and oxygen. This leads to the engine overheating which shall lead to damage on the plastic parts of the gaskets. To repair this is possible at the early stage before the adverse condition is reached.


man holding cylinder gasket
man holding cylinder gasket.

Once the intake manifold gasket is rectified, you proceed to check the head gasket. The function of the head gasket is to ensure that no coolant flows to the cylinder. In case of a leakage on the head gasket, coolant flows to the cylinder which results in the production of white smoke from exhaust when accelerating.

The only possible remedy for a cracked head gasket is to make a replacement. This will cost some cash depending on the type of the head gasket You should also factor in the cost of labour which depends with the agreement you will make with your mechanic.

Expert Tip: It is always advisable to do a replacement on the head gasket immediate your realize its crackdown before it does more harm to the entire parts of the engine.


The engine block is connected to the head gasket by the cylinder head. In case of overheating, the cylinder head can get a crack since its parts is made of Aluminum material. This therefore leads to the white fumes seen from the exhaust and a repair should be done with an immediate effect.

At times, the crack might be difficult to repair thus calling complete replacement. The task involved is time consuming thus you need an expert to do it The mechanic removes the engine head then replace it with a new one.

The cost of a new cylinder head and labour is not fixed. Each type of the cylinder head has its own price.

Mechanic adjusting cylinder head on engine block
A mechanic adjusting the cylinder head on the engine block.


A crack on the engine block requires an immediate action for it is the sensitive part that should always be in a stable condition. Apart from the operational requirements that might cause a big mess to your car’s engine when it leaks, the repair or replacement of the engine blocks involve heavy costs.

However, there are some options to conduct a replacement. These methods involves taken the car for welding on the cracked part, using a cold-metal patch to cover the crack, or cold-metal stitch to shut the crack.

Expert Tip: Regardless of the kind of method you will use to repair it, you should be ready to wait for 12-35 hours before the condition is reinstated which is done at varying costs depending on the model of your car.

In case the repair cannot be done, you will be forced to purchase a new one. The price for small and long engine blocks also vary depending on the models. Thereafter, you will be required to have some cash for the mechanic who will do the replacement


A mechanic repairs fuel injector
A mechanic repairs a fuel injector.

Fuel injectors might fail to perform effectively due to clogging that have taken place in them. The most common clogging agents are the carbons or sludge. However, you should not bother so much on how to clean the fuel injector so long as you can afford to invest in a commercial cleaner. The cleaner performs the tasks of cleaning the fuel injector without having to do it by yourself.

However, fuels injectors might fail to perform due to other issues other than clogging. This now implies that you need to replace it by purchasing a new one. It is therefore recommended to make a complete replacement rather than replacing only the one with a crack which might cause the engine not to run.


Valves seals and the piston ring are responsible for preventing leakages of the engine’s coolant. However, they are susceptible to wear and tear this requires a replacement upon discovery. The cost of replacing the valves or rings might not be that cheap but you should be financially prepared to incur a purchase and a replacement cost.

Piston rings and crankshaft
Piston rings and crankshaft.


White smoke from exhaust when accelerating might be due to the injector pump facing poor timing. This condition shall require the car’s computer to be reprogrammed. At times, reprogramming might fail to bring a remedy thus requiring a replacement of the entire pump system. This will go for varying costs depending on the model of the vehicle.

In addition, replacing the camshaft would be a requirement. This is amongst the difficult tasks to be done by any mechanic. The replacement will require an expert mechanic who has all the tools for the repair. Employing any mechanic will worsen the situation and may render the new camshaft useless.

At times, contaminated diesel fuel might be causing a failure in the injector pump. Continued use of the same fuel will be leading to the same problems day-in day-out.

A mechanic replacing the fuel filter of the car
A man replacing the fuel filter of the car.

However, you should always try to replace the diesel fuel filters on a routine basis so that it does the fuel cleaning. Similarly, you can try to avoid filling your car with contaminated diesel and do the filling at fuel stations that offer quality services.

Replacing the fuel pump might not be the only solution to the white smoke from the exhaust. Other causes might be due to the entire engine having problems that require a mechanic to conduct a thorough checkup to reinstate the condition.

Can I drive with white smoke from the exhaust?

The smoke that cars expel through the exhaust pipe is an excellent indicator when analyzing the engine of the car, and other components of the vehicle, among which we can name the cooling systems and the transmission.

The color of the smoke can be of various colors and each color has a meaning for the probable faults that the car may present, if this smoke is white, drivers will surely ask themselves: If Can I drive with white smoke from the exhaust?

There are cases where there will be no problem to drive with white smoke from the exhaust, one of these cases occurs when you notice that the smoke coming out of the exhaust is white and forms thin threads and in minimal quantities, if this only occurs for a short time after starting the engine, is the result of the accumulation of condensation in the internal part of the exhaust system, and this should not cause major concerns, with the travel of a few kilometers this smoke will disappear, so in this specific case if you can drive with white smoke from the exhaust.

Expert Tip: If the white smoke coming out of the exhaust of the car, is in larger quantities and looks denser and is present at all times while the engine is running, it is a clear indication of the burning of the engine coolant, and means that there is serious damage to the head gasket, or in the cylinder head itself, and there may even be a problem in the engine block.

Any of the causes mentioned above will cause the engine to overheat and if the failure is not addressed in time and continue driving in this state, the engine will suffer more serious damage, which can mean a great cost to the owner, since in the case that the coolant passes to the cylinders the damage to the engine will cause a complete repair of the engine, in this case, a can drive with white smoke from the exhaust.

In conclusion, the presence of white smoke in the exhaust, has several causes, the proper way to protect the vehicle from unfortunate damage is to make periodic reviews on time, and submit it to the necessary repairs when this irregularity is observed, when you ask yourself again if “Can I drive with white smoke from the exhaust?” You will know when you can drive it and when you should submit it to the rework.

White smoke coming out from car exhaust
White smoke comes out from the car exhaust.

How do I know if my Headgasket is blown

For a vehicle owner it must be important to know certain essential parts of the vehicle, about some engine components, it is good to know what function it performs and the signs that indicate that it is malfunctioning, in the case of the Headgasket, it is important to know that this component provides the sealing of the cylinders of the engine block, providing excellent compression, and prevents leaks and the passage of coolant into the cylinders.

That is why it is so important for the owner when he asks himself: How do I know if my Headgasket is blown?

The following symptoms are indicators of the Headgasket is blown:

  • Coolant leaks constantly
  • Presence of oil traces in the radiator and coolant reservoir
  • Oil drops are visible on the oil dipstick and oil cap
  • The engine is rapidly heating up and overheating constantly
  • When the engine is started, the smoke coming out of the exhaust is white.
How do I know if my Headgasket is blown

These are symptoms that indicate that the failure must be repaired urgently to avoid further damage that can even ruin the entire engine.


You now have an idea of what is the cause of the white smoke from exhaust when accelerating your car. Also, in case you notice it, you can use the possible remedies stated above to reinstate the car’s condition.

However, in case you are not sure on what to do and yet your car is facing such a problem do not hesitate asking a questing and we shall be there to help you. White smoke is not only harmful to your car but to the entire environment including you. Try to rectify the situation immediately you realize it being ejected.

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About Matthew Webb

Hi, I am Matthew! I am a dedicated car nerd! During the day, I am a journalist, at night I enjoy working on my 2 project cars. I have been a car nerd all my life, and am excited to share my knowledge with you!