2012 Escape white exhaust smoke

I recently purchased used from a dealer. On two occasions recently white smoke came from the exhaust when starting the car. One time after sitting at work all day and most recent upon starting first thing in the morning. 30,000 miles and still under warranty. Suggestions?


One byproduct of burning gasoline is water vapor. When an engine is first started, you may see white smoke which is the water vapor as steam. As the exhaust system heats up, you won’t see the vapor. However, keep an eye on the coolant level as you may have coolant leaking into the cylinders. Is the white smoke excessive?

Thanks Triedaq. I guess I consider any smoke excessive, but it seemed quite thick, though it only lasted a few seconds.

This generation of Escape was notorious for engine and transmission issues. Of the 8 we leased at work, 6 went in for engine rebuilds and 5 had transmissions that slipped so badly the fluid was burned in the first 15k miles. In short, keep an eye on it and monitor your coolant and oil to be sure they aren’t going down.

I would suspect a leaking head gasket too. Some other owners have reported head gasket leaks with as little as 25k miles on the car. Keep careful track of the coolant level in both the radiator itself and the overflow tank. Take photos of the low levels as proof. Then turn the car in under warranty. I would make the dealer buy it back if possible. Other Escape owners have complained of recurring leaks even after the head gasket is replaced.