2000 Camry still blowing out smoke after repairs


I have a 4 cylinder 2000 Camry that I recently took to the shop because my check engine light was on and it was blowing out a puff of white smoke when the car first starts. I was told it was an EGR problem and this is what I had fixed:

"Upon client approval, remove and replace defective EGR Bypass Vacuum Valve with new (OE)
EGR Bypass Vacuum Valve. Test drive vehicle following service to confirm proper operation.
Warranty on parts and labor is 2 years or 20,000 miles (whichever comes first). Warranty
valid at FIXCARNOW locations only. "

The problem is my car is still blowing out smoke, the check engine light is off, but it is having the same problems it did before. My concern is that either they didn’t properly diagnose the problem,even though they ran a full diagnostic on the car, or just didn’t fix it.

I’m scheduled to go back in and get more repairs done per their suggestions.

I just want to have an idea of what to ask when I call them back, or if I need to take it to another place.


It is possible the check engine light and the puff of white smoke are not part of the same problem. The computer error code for the check engine light likely showed a malfunction of the EGR and therefore that was fixed.

This puff of white smoke, we need to know more about that? Just upon cold start up? Or, does it do same when the car is started all the time, i.e. after a gas fill up or run to the market? How long does the puff take to go away? You could have some moisture in the exhaust that is normal. Or, you might have a serious problem with a leaky head gasket. More details about this smoke will help narrow down the possible causes.

Since the repair have you had the car out on the highway for a good long run, such as a one or two hour highway trip? You just might have material in your exhaust system that will burn off in time.

It only happens if the car has been sitting. First thing in the morning it is the worst, it puffs out for a couple seconds and then goes away, then again after I start it up leaving work.

If I’m out running errands and I make multiple stops it doesn’t happen.

I have short commute to work, I don’t get on the freeway and the repairs were done this past Friday.

They checked the head gasket, I had a compression test done and everything was normal.

Thanks for your help.

I agree with Uncle T.

As to the white smoke, it’d be interesting to me to know if it’s actually white or more gray. It’d also be interesting to know how many miles are on the car. The car’s 12 years old, and it’s not at all uncommon for valve guide seals to begin to seep a bit with age. The oil that lubricates the camshafts and associated components drains down through return channels to the oilpan, and the valve guide seals are just rubber seals that prevent this oil from running down past the valve stems and into the cylinders. If the seals begin to seep, some oil can get onto the backs of the valves overnight and get drawn into the cylinders and burned when the engine is started in the morning. There’s no test for this, it’s just a matter of knowing the circumstances of the puff and familiarity with recognizing a bit of oil burning.

How many miles?
Are you using any oil?

It has 106,000 miles, and the smoke seems to be more white (from what I see in my rear view mirror)

I just had an oil change done with the recent repairs, they used 5W30 castrol.

Since the tests for a leaking head gasket were done and turned up negative I don’t think you have a serious problem. If it is water condensation in the exhaust system a good long run on the highway will burn off the water and if you have no smoking next morning that was it. Smoke from oil seeping in cylinders isn’t a big deal if you aren’t using much oil between oil changes.

Your car could just be showing some signs of aging, but sounds like a lot of miles left in your Camry.


I agree with UncleT.
Monitor your fluid levels and let us know if one of them is dropping.

The 5W30 Castrol is fine. Nothing to worry about there.

If your cooling system looks okay, radiator full to the brim with clean coolant and no significant coolant loss from the reservoir tank, then it’s probably just a little oil leaking down the valve stem seals overnight and what you see is a puff of smoke in the morning as that oil quickly burns off…You might try using the “High Mileage” version of your motor oil which has a seal conditioner in it which may or may not reduce the morning puff of smoke…

As long as oil consumption is modest, there is little reason to tear the engine apart to cure this common problem…

It seems like the mechanic did a poor job of explaining the situation as he saw it. The CEL was the big issue to him and the puff of smoke was incidental and considered to likely be related to the EGR. It turned out that the smoke was unrelated to the EGR and the mechanic, like myself and others here feel somewhat confident that if there is no loss of coolant or excessive oil consumption the smoke is no big deal.

I have had an 02 Camry 2.4 since new. Mine started doing this at about 25k (I have 75k now) miles and has been doing it ever since with no real oil loss between changes. Frequenting the ToyotaNation and other forums this seems a common problem, but unless oil consumption is excessive it really isn’t anything to worry about.

Does anyone here know if this design runs coolant through the intake anywhere. A leak in a gasket near the intake could be the problem and a little run time swells everything up causing the leak to go away. GM products with a 3100 motor are bad about intake gasket leaks that appear like this, or just dump on the ground during cool off.

Can you smell the exhaust from the back of the car, oil and antifreeze make very different smells? Antifreeze gives off a very sweet smell and oil, well that is just all together different. Don’t stick your head to the tail pipe or anything like that but in the general vicinity of the exhaust discharge.

I don’t think this design has that coolant problem. Much more common with Camrys of this age is the minor oil leak past the valve seals, as others have said. Mine does the same thing.