Cars. Who in their right mind would have them? Your relationship with your vehicle is likely the most high maintenance one in your life. Initial payment aside, you also need to clean, maintain, and care for the pesky thing. And it’ll probably STILL go and break on you. If a romantic partner acted that way, you wouldn’t stick around, would you? But, if we want the chance to get where we need when we need, we are but slaves to our automobiles.

Yet, as with most relationships, our vehicles remain mostly unknown to us. We may understand the general checks, but a lot of the internal intricacies remain a mystery to most car owners; which can make it tricky when things start to go wrong. It’s all too easy to either overlook or misunderstand any problems which occur and this applies whether your engine or your exhaust is at fault.

If asked outright, most car owners would admit that they don’t know anything about their exhausts. Aside from the fact it funnels those deadly fumes, it’s not something we give much thought to. Yet, when things go wrong here, it can end up costing both your health and your finances. Hence why you should schedule an appointment with a company like Telle Tire the moment you notice that things aren’t right. They offer car maintenance and can address problems with either your exhaust or your engine. But, they can’t help you if you don’t know there’s a problem. So, just what are the warning signs that your exhaust is exhausted?

Gone in a puff of smoke

Visible smoke from your exhaust is a sure sign that all is not well down there. While there are always fumes emitting from this part of your car, you shouldn’t be able to see them. Admittedly, a thin layer of white smoke is usually nothing to worry about. But, if the smoke is thick, sticks around, or takes on a worrying colour, it’s a whole other issue. Of course, as with anything, different smoke colours mean different things, so let’s break this down for you-

  • White smoke. While white smoke which disappears can be okay, continual white smoke is one of the most pressing problems you could face. This can be a sign of anything from a blown head gasket to a cracked engine block, either of which can be costly. Or, it could be due to a leak in your coolant, which could spell disaster for your engine if left unchecked. 
  • Grey smoke. For the most part, grey smoke is usually down to issues with what’s burning in your engine. For one, this can be a sign of excessive oil burning. Or, it may be that your engine is burning your transmission fluid. It can also be a sign of a stuck PCV valve which could have caused oil leaks. 
  • Black smoke. While it may look most concerning, black smoke is probably the best option you could face. For the most part, it means nothing more than your engine burning too much oil. This can be a result of issues with your air-filter or fuel-pressure regulator. Either way, this is bad for your pockets and the environment, so you should still take action to rectify the issue.

Some of these, especially black smoke, can be addressed by yourself. But, if the problem persists, you should never hesitate to contact the professionals. Left unchecked, even simple causes of exhaust smoke could worsen to expensive repairs.

What’s that smell?

We’ve all been behind a car with a smelly exhaust at some stage. It’s not a pleasant experience and it usually signifies a pretty big problem in either your exhaust itself or your engine. This can result in harmful fumes being released into the wild; it’s essential you take action regardless of what the smell is. But, to give you some idea of the work you might face, let’s look at the meanings behind some of the most common odours

  • Rotten eggs. You knew this would be first, didn’t you? This stench is due to something called hydrogen sulfide. Usually, your converter converts this into the odorless sulfur dioxide. But, if you can smell the stuff, there’s a chance your converter needs replacing. Don’t despair, though, because that’s not the only reason this would happen. Other causes include broken fuel pressure regulators or overheated engines. Only the professionals can tell you which is it. 
  • Fuel smell in the car. If you can smell a general stench of fuel and exhaust fumes in your car, it could be a sign of two things. On the one hand, your door seals may simply need a little attention. If your doors aren’t sealing right, all those outdoor smells will seem much stronger. If that’s not the problem, this is a sure sign there’s a leak or hole in your exhaust system somewhere. Given how dangerous it is to inhale carbon monoxide, you’ll want to address this straight away.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what shape the smell takes. The key here is to get things sorted as soon as you can. This is especially crucial if the scent is backed into your car. Even short trips with fumes like this could lead to headaches and illness down the line.

Yet ANOTHER trip to the petrol station

Most of us have a good idea of how much fuel we use in a week or month; which is why our last point relates to the number of trips you pay to refill each month. While less obvious than the other points, sudden issues with fuel economy could be one the first signs your exhaust needs attention. A leak can be severe and would result in a lot of lost fuel. Equally, this could be a sign of excessive fuel burning before the smoke starts. Either way, take note. If you’re suddenly filling up more than you’re used to, book in for that much-needed maintenance check.


Melvin is an Entrepreneur, Life Coach, and Chinese Metaphysics Practitioner. He holds an EMBA and he is a passionate and engaging teacher, known for his unique combination of science, research, and spirituality.

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