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Smokin' RAV Start

My TOYRAV4-02 intermittently puffs a large white cloud of smoke from either the tail pipe, or somewhere else under the car, when it’s first started in the morning, then runs and starts clear for the rest of the day. What’s goin’ on? Ignore or action?

And I would guess it does it most often after a rain or on a cool morning or after you only had a short drive. When it only happens sometimes it us likely just normal moisture that collected in the exhaust.

White is usually vaporized water (often with coolant mixed in). But the only times that usually happens is when there’s either a breech in the headgasket or it’s cold ouside and the vapor in the not-yet-up-to-temp exhaust is making a cloud.

Usually a cloud first thing in the morning only indicates oil leaking past the valve guide seals and pooling on the valves or in the cylinders (where the valves are open) and burning with the day’s first start.

Are you sure it’s white?
How many miles does the vehicle have?
Do you need to add coolant occasionally?
Is there any sign of fluids mixing?
How much oil do you use?

If it’s white smoke it’s probably water vapor (steam). Condensation forms in the exhaust system and cooks off when you start the engine.

If it’s blue smoke (oil) it may indicate leaking valve guide seals.

Are you losing any fluids? Oil? Coolant?

If you do not have to add coolant do not worry about it

Joseph, you’re so right…and I’m hoping that’s all it is. Haven’t seen it past few days on start, because we haven’t had rain or any real temperature differentials. Plus the car is being used mostly for very short drives. Thanks for responding so quickly and astutely.

mcparadise, no blue smoke, no indication of fluid loss, so I’m hoping the majority of replies indicating “don’t worry” are on target…thanks so much

Mountainbike, (this may be a duplicate xmission), but I responded that it’s all white, 135k, just changed coolant at 120k, never add fluids between changes, no signs of mixing, doesn’t burn a drop of oil… so I’m taking that “ignore it” counsel for now… good analysis and q’s… thanks