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Why is There Smoke Coming From Underneath My Car's Hood?

A broken car at the side of the road and its owner, hands on his head

Smoke coming from underneath the hood of your car can be a very worrying experience. There are many reasons that this issue may occur, from electrical faults to contamination caused by motor oil, engine coolant, or transmission fluids. Let's look at the leading causes of smoke under the hood of your car.

Common causes of smoke

One of the main things that cause an engine to smoke is contamination from other fluids. Sometimes small drops of motor oil leak from the gasket and get into the engine or exhaust system. This would result in steam or smoke coming from under your hood. Other fluids sometimes get into a car's engine, including coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, or transmission fluid.

Contamination is generally harmless, and the smoke will disperse in a few minutes. You should always have your engine looked at by a trained mechanic if you notice smoke coming from the hood, even if it seems to have stopped as soon as it started.

Other more severe issues

If smoke suddenly starts belching from beneath your vehicle's hood, this indicates a more severe issue. Your car may be suffering from a mechanical fault or electrical failure. The following problems may cause smoke:

Failed head gasket

A lot of white smoke is likely to indicate that your engine has been affected by coolant from a faulty head gasket. This may also show that another internal engine component has failed and caused burning in the combustion chamber.

Blown radiator hose

When a radiator hose blows, it will create a spray of coolant which can get into the engine. This will cause white smoke that looks similar to steam and a pungent odor.

Engine burning oil or raw fuel

Another cause of smoke is if the engine is burning oil due to a leaking seal or faulty valve or piston ring. This problem is often caused by a motorist who fails to maintain their engine or use the incorrect type of oil. It will create a blue or grey smoke, which has a bitter smell.

If your vehicle has a leaking fuel injector or issues with the pressure regulator, sensors, or ignition components, it may start to burn raw fuel. This will cause black smoke to billow from underneath your car's hood.

Electrical Failure

An electrical failure caused by short-circuiting or burned wires can also create black smoke.

Contact us today!

If you've noticed smoke coming from underneath the hood of your car and need engine repair, we invite you to bring your vehicle to our auto repair shop today!

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