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White smoke coming from under my hood!

My car reeks of oil, and the low oil light is on. Now it is throwing off white smoke from under the hood on the passengers side when i put it in park. I popped the hood and i do believe that it is coming from engine… what should i do to make this car work right!?

Have you checked the oil for coolant contamination? If the oil looks like a chocolate milkshake, the steam is probably coming from a breached intake manifold gasket, and coolant has also leaked into the oil pan. Not good.


As Tester said, this is not good–and that is on several counts, potentially.

First of all–Is the “low oil” light a warning light that tells you about a low oil level, or does it indicate low oil pressure? (There is a difference.)

Secondly, if this is due to a breached intake manifold gasket or a breached head gasket, and if coolant has contaminated the motor oil for more than just a very brief period, then it is entirely possible for some severe damage to have been done to bearings and cylinder walls.

However, all of this is just speculation because we cannot examine the vehicle.
You can do as Tester suggests, and check the oil for the presence of coolant, but whether you find that or not, the car needs to be towed to a competent mechanic. Please note that this category does NOT include the likes of Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, Pep Boys, AAMCO, or other chain operations. Do NOT start the engine. Have it towed it to a well-reputed independent mechanic.

If you would like some further help from us (even though it will be speculative in nature), we need to know some additional info:

Model year
Odometer mileage
Maintenance history–at least over the past year or so

When was the last time, prior to the present situation, that you personally checked the levels of the motor oil and the coolant?