Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

White smoke coming out of my exhaust when I first start my car every day

When I start my car for the first time every day, I have white smoke come out my exhaust usually for about a minute or two but it runs fine after that. But it’s like a cloud of white smoke. I checked my oil and it’s fine. Do you know what it could be?

Check for an intake manifold or head gasket leak.


+1 to Tester’s suggestion.
White smoke is an indication of water/coolant that is getting into the cylinders, and that is not a good thing.

Can the OP give us some details regarding his mystery vehicle?

If it’s steam, not smoke, you have a coolant leak. If you’re certain it’s smoke then you likely have weak or worn valve guides. The oil leaks past them all the time, but when you park the oil falls past them and sits in the cylinder until you fire it up again. The oil burns away, white (blue) smoke, and looks clean until next time. You’re still burning oil you just don’t see it when you’re driving around.

It’s a 2001 camry Solara

It only happens when I first start it in the mornings and it smells alittle like rubber burning


Thanks for the info

Now please answer these questions

What engine?

5S-FE 4 cylinder

You’re sure the smoke is white?
Do you check the fluid levels regularly?
Are you adding a lot of oil and/or coolant?

Ya I am pretty sure it is smoke think its 4 cylinder


Thanks for the info on the engine type

Some of my questions are still unanswered

Blue smoke OR white smoke?

What about the fluid levels?
Do you frequently have to add coolant and/or oil?

Are you comfortably passing your smog tests?

Or barely squeaking by?

Is there a chance the OP is confusing “white smoke” with “light blue” smoke?

Aside from the confusion over the color of the smoke, it has the signature of worn valve stem seals - (lasts for a minute or two in the mornings and smells like burning rubber).

If the OP is finding that coolant needs to be added to keep the bottle at the full mark, more than a 1/2 pint of coolant every 3000 miles say, then the white smoke is likely due to coolant getting into the cylinders, and would likely be a degrading head gasket. Any good shop can assess the head gasket condition.

If the coolant stays topped up, and doesn’t need any new added, then the next best guess is worn valve guides, allowing oil to leak into the cylinder when the car is parked overnight. As long as the oil loss is less than one quart per 1000 miles, and there are no drivability problems, and the ignition coils aren’t blowing out all the time, probably best to just live w/it.

There’s a slight chance this is a leaky injector too. A shop could do a fuel pressure leak down test to confirm/deny.

IF it is a small coolant weep, you could try Holts Radweld aka the Subaru coolant conditioner. If there is no leak, there is no risk of it blocking passages. It comes in a small plastic bottle and you add it to the coolant in your radiator. Subaru rebadges it and recommend it to cut potential head gasket leaks off at the pass.
It is used by other makes as well as “Holts Radweld” but you can just buy it at any Subaru dealer ($10) if you can’t find it locally. It is the same stuff and could very well fix the problem.

Burning rubber is oil. Valve stem seals need replacing. The oil drains down the valve stems over night and burns off when you first start the car. You can put up with it and keep an eye on the oil level or get them replaced. It will not damage the engine. It’s not that bad of a job, but it will cost a few hundred dollars.

White smoke and thank you

@RemcoW: does that Radweld stuff work differently than, say, Bars Leaks? Do you think it would help with a poorly installed freeze plug that weeps a very small amount of coolant?

If the freeze plug is improperly installed, you may want to redo it. This is really meant for minor weep leaks, I think.

Naturally, it’s the plug covered by the transmission, and I’m not pulling that engine back out anytime soon. The leak is very small, even under pressure.

I’d be reluctant to suggest using it on something that wasn’t installed correctly. You could try it. People use it for similarly small leaks. I doubt it will do harm.

I have same car and same issue. Was a solution found?

Apologies everyone. I just inadvertently opened an old thread.
My bad.