Hello, please please help me! Every 2-3 days, intermittently-there is white smoke coming from the tailpipe of my car. The car seems to be sputtering, like it wants to cough, plus there is vibration in the steering wheel. All this happens while the car is idle like at a light. Then on other occassion, I am driving on the freeway and the car seems to sputter even at 45-65 mph, then it just smooths out. No problem. Today, I was in the parking lot, there was no smoke but some sputtering when I shifted from park to drive. I drive 30-40 minutes to get to work and very afraid my car is going to breakdown. Also, I took my car to Toyota dealership and was told they could not tell me what was wrong with my car and to bring it back when to problem occurs again. I have pretty much “babied” my car, so I guess my car is beginning to reach middle age. Add’l info: Camry XLE, 3.2L, automatic, 167,000 actual miles, warm climate, oil change every 14 weeks, tune-up about a month ago, coolant flush in June 2012, a/c is fine
You should remove your phone number - this is not a forum actually read by Click and Clack, and it’s never safe to splash your contact info around the internet.
If it’s white smoke, that usually points to coolant getting into the exhaust, which would indicate a failing head gasket.
Check your oil. If it’s foamy and/or looks kind of like chocolate milk, you have coolant in it and need a new head gasket. As a warning, this is an expensive job, but don’t be suckered in by the “head gasket stop leak” fluids you’ll find at auto parts stores - they rarely work, and when they do, they often wreck other stuff and cost you more money down the road.
Don’t take it to the dealership. Half the time those guys are the worst mechanics in town with the exception of Jiffy Lube. Find a good, reputable independent shop and take it there. There are diagnostic procedures that should have been run on your car just based on the complaint. Frankly, I suspect the dealership doesn’t want to bother because they’re pretty sure it’s a head gasket, and they’re guessing you’ll give them a lot of crap about the expense on a 20 year old car, which is a bad assumption to make, but a common one.
I recommend against putting your phone number or any other personal information in your post. While I understand your willingness to do so in a quest for answers, confidentiality is sacrosanct in these formats. With your phone number anyone up to no good could easily tarck down all your personal information.
It would help to have more information
The Camry’s model, and engine
manual or automatic tranny
how many miles
what climate do you live in
when was the last time you had it its various maintenance requirements fulfilled
did the dealership do any analysis, or just shrug their shoulders and say “sorry”
It sounds on the surface like you’re experiiencing simple misfiring. But answering the above question could help give us a place to start. The white smoke may or may not be a symptom of a problem. If the weather is cooling down this time of year where you live, it could be simple water vapor.
Camry XLE, 3.2L, automatic, 167,000 actual miles, warm climate, oil change every 14 weeks, tune-up about a month ago, coolant flush in June 2012, a/c is fine
Since you live in a warm climate, I’d check for any evidence of combustion gasses in the coolant. If it looks anything other than clean and pink, if it’s less clear than a good wine, I’d check further. The white smoke could be a sign of coolant entering the cylinders.
Did you do the tuneup yourself? If so, how did the sparkplugs look? Many of us always evaluate the condition of sparkplugs when they’re removed. They can tell us a lot about what’s happening in the cylinder.
You coulld also have the ECU checked for stored fault codes. Many parts stores will do this for free.