Quick Guide: The Many Colors of Car Smoke and What They Mean

Have you ever paid attention to the color of smoke coming from the exhaust pipe of your car? While this might sound odd, the color of your exhaust can give you information on how your vehicle is running and whether it needs attention. Exhaust is sometimes an easy indicator of car health.

Here at Rislone, we have decades of experience as a leader in treating engine problems and have put together this list to help you identify the different colors of smoke and react when necessary.

Colors to Watch For

Here are the main colors of smoke that you might detect coming from your vehicle, each one indicating a different potential problem:

  • Blue smoke: This typically occurs when some engine oil is getting burned off. Worn or damaged piston rings can allow oil to enter the combustion chamber, creating smoke with a bluish tinge. This problem may be visible at startup but could disappear as your engine warms up.
  • Black smoke: Black exhaust smoke usually occurs when there is incomplete combustion of your fuel/air mixture. This could be related to problems with the quality of your gas, engine airflow problems or issues with your spark plugs and/or ignition coils.
  • White smoke: The presence of water in the combustion chamber will create a whitish exhaust. One common cause of this is a broken or blown head gasket, which allows engine coolant/water to seep into your pistons, creating a white smoke with a noticeable odor.

If you see any of these exhaust colors, your engine needs attention. Before you spend a lot going to a mechanic or having work done on your engine, browse our catalog and identify the products that can take care of your issue. We have decades of experience as an industry leader in engine performance and ring seal solutions and have the formulations necessary to stop all of these smoke-related problems.

Once you’ve identified the product that will work for you, use our handy online locator to find a retailer near you. We also invite you to contact our team to get more information or to obtain help choosing the right product.