Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Car smoking from under the hood

Car smoking from under the hood—most common causes

If you notice your car smoking from under the smoking from under the hoodhood, pull over immediately and check for the cause. First, check your engine temperature gauge. An overheated engine can cause any grease or oil on the engine to burn off and cause smoking from under the hood. Or, a cooling system failure like a burst hose, cracked radiator or a failed water pump can cause hot coolant to escape, looking like smoke coming from under the hood.

#1 most common cause of car smoking from under the hood

Cooling system failure

Burst radiator or heater hose
Burst radiator
Leaking water pump
Water pump drive belt failed causing an engine overheat condition
Symptoms: White smoke coming from under the hood. The engine temperature gauge in the “hot” zone.

What to do. Call a tow truck and have it brought to a shop. Do NOT continue driving. Driving with a cooling system failure can destroy your engine, costing upwards of $5,000.

#2 most common cause of car smoking from under the hood

Motor Oil leak from valve cover gasket failure

Valve cover gaskets leak as they age and the oil drips down the side of the engine and burns on the hot exhaust causing smoke coming from under the hood. Check for leaking oil dripping down the side of the engine.

Power steering fluid leak from power steering hose

A leak in a power steering fluid line can also cause a car smoking from under the hood condition. This happens when the fluid lands on hot engine parts and burns. Check your power steering fluid level.

#3 most common cause of car smoking from under the hood

Head gasket failure

Head gaskets can fail in several ways. If the gasket fails between the cylinder and a cooling passage, the engine can pump hot exhaust gasses into the cooling system. In that case, the gasses can push coolant out the coolant reservoir, causing smoking from under the hood.

Belt failure causes smoke coming from under the hood along with a burnt rubber smell

Belt failure that causes smoke is caused by a seized pulley. The belt burns up as it skids across the seized pulley. This would also cause a loud screeching sound.

©, 2020 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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