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Can Oil Leak Cause Smoke? (Read This First!)

Smoke coming out of your car isn’t any everyday affair that you would face daily, and several reasons such as a blown head gasket, coolant leakage, bad fuel injectors, etc. are responsible for causing your car to emit smoke. 

Therefore, if your car is facing an oil leakage, you might wonder whether an oil leakage can cause smoke as well in your car. Thus, let’s explore the explanations ahead to find out the answer.

Can Oil Leak Cause Smoke?

An oil leak in the car certainly can cause smoke emissions from the car. When there’s oil leakage, leaked oil drips in the combustion compartment and gets mixed up with fuel and air while getting ignited and goes out of the car’s tailpipe. And it results in bluish-white smoke going out of the car. 

An oil leakage inside the car’s system is one of the main causes behind a car releasing smoke from the exhaust pipe, and most of the time worn-out pistons and piston rings are responsible for oil leaking and causing smoke. 

Other than worn-out piston and piston rings, worn engine oil seals, inlet manifold seals, and head gasket failure are the other reasons that can cause an oil leak which leads to smoke emissions. 

Since smoke can come out from underneath the car’s hood as well as from the exhaust pipe, here shortly explained that smoke can come out of the exhaust. 

From Exhaust:

Oil leak can cause exhaust smoke from a car. 

When wear and tear has happened in the piston rings, the worn-out pistons can leak motor oil leak in the combustion compartment and it mixes up with fuel and air, simultaneously gets ignited and goes out of the car’s exhaust pipe resulting in bluish-white smoke. 

Worn-out engine seals can lead to oil leakage and that leaked oil will end up burning off and emitting in a form of blue smoke. Besides, if the inlet manifold leads to an oil leaking in the cylinders, it’ll cause smoke as well. 

Also, overheating damages the head gaskets and leads to an oil leakage allowing the oil to go to different components of the car engine which will cause exhaust smoke. 

Will Oil Leak Cause Smoke Under Hood?

An oil leakage surely can cause smoke to seep underneath a car’s hood. Sometimes there can be a leaky part that’s sitting above the engine inside the car and it’s spilling motor oil onto the engine of the car. 

Thereby, upon reaching the car’s engine, the oil will burn and ultimately will end up releasing smoke that will seep through the car’s hood. Generally, the color of the smoke from the smoke underneath the car’s hood would be somewhat bluish-white or grayish. 

Moreover, along with noticing smoke underneath your car’s hood, you will also smell the scent of burning oil and hear a sizzle when leaked oil is coming in contact with the car’s hot engine. 

Can Oil Leak Cause White Smoke? 

Oil leakage in a car is not likely to cause any white smoke. If oil is dripping from any faulty components and getting into other components inside a car, it most likely will cause bluish/bluish-white smoke going out from the exhaust pipe of the car. 

Or if the dripping oil reaches the engine and gets burnt, there also bluish-white or grayish smoke will be emitted through the car’s hood, rather than white smoke. 

If you are noticing white smoke is being emitted from your car, know that leaking coolant is the most certain reason as leaked coolant mixes up with fuel and gets burnt in the car’s engine causing white smoke going out of the engine with a unique sweet scent. 

Why Is My Car Smoking And Leaking Oil?

Below the reasons behind leaking oil and causing smoke emissions due to leaking oil have been listed so that you can get clear ideas regarding this query. 

Worn-Out Pistons And Piston Rings: 

In a combustion engine, pistons are found in the car cylinders in order to maintain airtight seals in those cylinders by using rings.  

But after going through wear and tear, the piston rings get damaged and lead to an oil leakage into the fuel which ultimately burns and results in blue exhaust smoke. 

Broken Valve Stem Seals: 

The valve stem seals in a car are generally made of highly durable rubber, however, too intense temperature as well as wear and tear can damage the valve stem seals which can cause an oil leak. Leaked oil drips down into the combustion and causes smoke in the car. 

Damaged Engine Oil Seals: 

While drifting around the engine from the oil tank, many seals prevent oil from leaking into other compartments. If any seal is damaged due to wear and tear, an oil leakage can occur and leaked oil will burn off resulting in blue exhaust smoke. 

Blown Head Gaskets: 

The internal combustion procedure is sealed by the head gaskets so that motor oil doesn’t get mixed together. If the head gaskets are blown out/damaged due to overheating, it will let oil leak and drip into several different components of the car engine. 

Thereby, the leaked oil will burn and produce smoke. 

Inlet Manifold Leaks: 

The Inlet manifold in a car is responsible for supplying the fuel and air mixture to the cylinders in a combustion engine. This inlet manifold sometimes can cause an oil leakage into cylinders which later will burn and emit blue exhaust smoke.

What Are The Signs Of An Oil Leak?  

 It can get difficult to understand whether your car is leaking oil or not if you don’t know the signs. Thus, here 5 most obvious signs of oil leaking have been added below. 

Blue Smoke: 

One of the most evident signs of oil leaking is the emission of blue smoke from a car. 

When there’s an internal oil leakage, leaked oil is prone to seep into the car’s combustion compartment, combustion compartment burns the leaked oil and causes bluish/bluish-white smoke that generally emits through the exhaust pipe. 

Low Oil Pressure Light: 

The appearance of low oil pressure light on your car’s dashboard means a low oil level in the car’s engine which is an indication of oil leaking too. 

If you are filling oil more often than usual and the low oil pressure light is appearing more frequently as well, know that it could really be an issue of oil leakage either internally or externally. 

Low Oil Level: 

While checking the engine oil level, if you are frequently finding a low oil level, it can be an indication of an oil leak. Most new engines use a fair amount of oil, except for an old car engine. 

Thus, upon checking, a continuous low oil level even after filling the oil tank regularly directs to oil leaking. 

Overheated Engine: 

If oil is leaking the oil level falls too low, thus, proper lubrication doesn’t happen and pistons grind against the other components of the engine which overheat the engine. So, an overheating engine makes an evident sign behind oil leaking. 

Dark Puddles Underneath The Car: 

If you notice dark brown puddles underneath your car in the parking lot while it is parked, it’s a very obvious sign of oil leaking.

How To Fix Engine Oil Leaking And Smoking?

Unless the oil leaking and smoke caused by the oil leak aren’t causing any serious damage further, you can try fixing this problem by following the step-by-step guide added below. 

Identify The Problem:

Several reasons can cause your car’s engine oil to leak and cause smoke such as blown/damaged head gaskets, oil pan leaking, worn-out engine seals, and others. 

So first, you need to find out the exact reason behind the engine oil leaking and smoke by inspecting your car from the inside and outside, as well as, by noticing the color of smoke, then start fixing it. 

Fix The Oil Leakage: 

You can either choose to fix that particular problem behind engine oil leaking and smoke by taking help from professional car mechanics while spending a hefty amount. 

Or else, you can try fixing the problem at your home by using tools like a car jack, jack stand, special additives to stop leaking, replacement compartments, and a torque wrench. Make sure to follow the guidelines strictly. 

Test Your Car:

After fixing the certain problem, run your car for a few minutes to check if it’s still smoking or not. Then park it 5 feet away from the place you usually park your car to check if it’s still leaking oil or not. If still smoke is coming out or oil is leaking, seek professional help. 

Final Thoughts 

Oil leakage can cause smoke in a car because leaked oil often seeps into the combustion compartment of an engine and mixes with fuel and air there and burns, then burnt oil gets out of the car through the tailpipe forming bluish or bluish-white smoke.