I have a 89 Buick Century Custom. On the first start of the day, I have no problem. No smoke and no difficulty starting. However, after the car warms up, say, after driving to a gas station the following happens: When I attempt to restart, it just cranks and cranks. I pause and let it set for about 5 seconds. I turn the ignition again and it starts after a few cranks. It bumbles a bit and acts like it is going to die as white smoke comes out of the exhaust for maybe 3 to 5 total seconds. Other times, it pops right off with no smoke. This seems to be a warm weather issue only as I don't really have a problem when during winter. I've read about fluids leaking but most of those address blue colored smoke or things that happen on the cold start up, which is not my problem. Also, I cannot be sure, but I think I might smell just a bit of gas after the car restarts.

Other's experiences with this? Ideas? A mechanic told me that all old GM's do this, but I'm not satisfied with that answer.


1 Answer 1


How is your coolant level? If it was dropping slowly over time, that plus the white smoke might indicate a bad head gasket. A cracked head that only leaks when warm could be it, too. Does it smell like Antifreeze?

  • I cannot tell if it is antifreeze, I'm not good at identifying smells. However, I did notice that I get smoke during a cold start-up. That changes what I said in my original post. I'm thinking about putting some bars leak radiator stop leak in there. Do you think it is worth a try?
    – KiloJKilo
    Commented Jul 13, 2012 at 11:50
  • It has more like an alcohol smell to me
    – KiloJKilo
    Commented Jul 13, 2012 at 21:34
  • Just had a head gasket issue myself. Does it heat up fast?
    – Chris
    Commented Jul 14, 2012 at 14:30
  • @Chris, not really. Seems like I have to be halfway to work before it gets up to about 180 to 200 degrees. That's about as high as it goes.
    – KiloJKilo
    Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 2:49
  • @KiloJKilo Ill ask around, I haven't had much experience with this. In my case, it wouldn't redline, it would just get near the top of the heat gauge, and stay there as it bled coolant into the engine, although the bigger telling point here was the coolant level disappearing.
    – Chris
    Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 0:29

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