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Smog Check: What Certain Colored Exhaust Means

Deciphering the Color Code of Your Exhaust


Often, color coding is a way to make recognition or tasks easier for people. The same might be said for colored vehicle exhaust, but visible, tinted emissions from the tailpipe usually indicates a problem. If your vehicle is painting the town with a trail of colored exhaust or if you have other reasons to suspect an emissions problem, bring your car to West Automotive Group in Escondido, California. Since 1993, we've offered smog checks and expert exhaust repairs for drivers of any make or model.

Exhaust Colors and Their Potential Meanings

Since a properly working engine and exhaust system doesn't usually emit colored exhaust, a colored cloud trailing behind your auto isn't a positive indicator. It's important to notice the shade of the exhaust if this phenomenon is occurring as your drive. The color often indicates the nature of the problem, giving your technician an idea of what to investigate. For instance, a cooling system leak sometimes reveals itself in a cloud of white smoke exiting the tailpipe. The leak allows coolant to enter the engine where it burns away, creating the effect you see. If the coolant is out of place in this way, it leaves your vehicle vulnerable to overheating. What's more, this issue can cause additional damage such as a blown head gasket or complete engine failure if not repaired in a timely manner. If you detect this problem, schedule an appointment for one of our technicians to check your car immediately.

Oil leaks in the engine generally present themselves via blue exhaust smoke. Obviously, if the oil is leaking out, the moving engine parts may not be properly lubricated and protected. The resulting wear and friction can not only damage the engine, but also lead to seizing and catastrophic failure. Finally, if your auto is "running rich" or using excessive amounts of fuel, you'll likely see black exhaust smoke. A clogged air filter is a common culprit leading to this problem. When this happens, your auto cannot get adequate air to balance the gas-to-air ratio. The vehicle attempts to compensate by using more fuel to create the needed power. This costs you more in gas and can damage your auto. It's also bad for the environment.

Your Smog Check and Exhaust Repair Specialist

Our ASE and ATRA certified technicians understand your vehicle's color codes. Like you, they also live and drive in California, so they understand the strict emissions regulations and smog testing requirements. When you bring your car to West Automotive Group, we'll listen to your observations and verify using an OBD-II reader to ensure an accurate repair.

Written by West Automotive Group