Mazda3 2012 sudden white cloud of smoke

The questions are: “What is going on?” and “What should I do?” Sorry if the background is long.

I am the first and only owner of this car. I do like this car enough to take me away form a life long love of Toyotas. Economical and Smooth.

Last time I took my car for service at 26K miles, I picked it up asked if all is well. “Yes all is well”, and I am glad I can continue my weekend. I get in it, drive it out and upon reaching 40mph a clunking noise comes from the front tire. I mean to bring it back but eventually the noise is less. I assume something was wrong. Before I know it, it is 31K miles and i need to bring it back to service. I mention the front left tire.
Turns out all 4 tires are cupped. They recomend changing the tires. I what to see if i can afford it and to see the tires myself. There is some shape alteration.

I take it easy because i think…if the tires are not great, i should be careful. Both the husband and I go to a shop, drink coffee, I think i can change the tires in a few days. On my way home, as I am trying to merge into traffic and get up to speed one huge puff of white smoke comes out, lights pop up (OBD blinking and solid slip light). Thank goodness my husband was right behind me with his Tundra. We are only a couple of miles away from the dealership and decide to bring it back…slowly nothing above 30mph. Service dept is closed and I have left it overnight.

Both of us agree…this should not be happening…specially when I have always serviced it regularly at the dealership and have always requested the recommended service.

What is going on?

What is “OBD blinking” supposed to mean?

If the check engine light is blinking, that signals a severe misfire which could damage the catalytic converter.

I suspect the “solid slip light” has something to do with your traction control/stability control system.

A “huge puff of white smoke” sometimes signals a blown head gasket.

it is the check engine light blinking.
it is the traction control
I do not know if it was huge (the car is small), but it was abnormal. It made my husband call me immediately.
I forgot to share that the car did lurch a little while slowing down or going a little faster on the service road on the way back to the dealership.

@ingridmb thanks for the update

Ask the dealer to thoroughly check out the catalytic converter, to make sure it didn’t sustain any damage from the misfire.

Good luck!

And please post back with the fix.

The white “smoke” was more likely to have been steam, rather than smoke.
That suggests…hopefully…a leaking cooling system hose…although that would be rare with such a relatively new vehicle…or perhaps a breached head gasket…but that would be highly unusual after just 31k miles. So…quien sabe?

In any event, we are all just fishing for possible explanations, so I hope that the OP comes back to this thread to update us with the diagnosis from the dealership.

The only thing that I can say definitively is that the OP made a huge mistake when she decided to not pay any attention to her tires for 5k miles. If a driver checks his/her tire pressure on a regular basis, that allows him/her to get “up close & personal” while doing the pressure check, and thus can help to prevent a situation where the treads on all 4 tires are “cupped” to the point of needing new tires.

If the OP is not able to check tire pressure (and do under-hood checks) herself, then hopefully her husband will take over these important tasks, as it is much more economical in the long run to do these things. And, the next time that the OP hears any unusal noises, or feels any unusual vibrations from her car, she needs to have these things checked out sooner, rather than later.

Please let us know what the folks at the dealership have to say about the apparent engine problems with your car.

I will be glad to bring back their feedback. My apologies for being a trusting car user at 31k miles. By the way, I did check the tire pressure and it was fine. We did this due to severe temperature changes in the last 3 months. At 50miles a day, that is how long it takes To driver 5K. The cupping was internal. The way I check the air I still would have missed it. Upon having the issue, I observed all tires from front view and side view. Alignment was solid. But with air expansion during the day filling them up can be risky. The pressure was fine. Liquids were fine…I check them every time security chooses my car for random inspection at work. Gotta open that hood, might as well check.
I wish it was as easy to care for as my old Toyota corolla 2000, I even changed that car’s timing belt. I loved that car. Was tempted to change the oil myself, but I did not have the money to buy the right jacks. Well, an engineer can not always be a car mechanic :). Thank goodness I know how to change a tire and use a wrench. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: