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1999 Mazda Protege - Smokes

My car smokes on startup. This is not just condensation but definitely smoke. It lasts about a minute, then stops. the car runs fine and three mechanics have been unable to find a problem.

Some cars with a lot of miles (how many are on yours, BTW?) will produce some smoke at first. It’s usually the early stages of burning oil. What color is the smoke? Blue? That’s oil, possibly from worn cylinders/rings. Black? That’s excessive fuel or poor combustion. The throttle body might need to be cleaned/rebuilt/replaced. White? That’s antifreeze, meaning your head gasket is probably bad. Honestly, you’re driving a 21 year old economy car and there’s a limit to how much work/expense you can justify putting into it. If it’s burning a small amount of oil and you’re keeping tabs on it or if it’s a throttle body issue that can be fixed relatively inexpensively, fine. If it’s more serious start saving for another car.

As my grandfather used to say about his Falcon, “It smokes,but it’s 21, so I guess it’s legal.”


Usually smoke on start up is caused by leaking valve guide seals.

Try using a high mileage oil at your next oil change.

These oils have additives that prevent oil seals from leaking.


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