1999 Mitsubishi RVR.

Small amount water and smoke come out in tail pipe when I first turn it on in the day. But sometimes no water and smoke come out. I don't know what is the problem or it is normal.

What is the white smoke that comes out of my tail pipe when I first start my car?

  • Does the smoke only happen for a little bit, or does it continue even after the car is warmed up? Smell the exhaust ... does it have a sweet smell to it? Jan 24 '17 at 2:05
  • I smell like water. No sweet smell on it. A little bit happen and the water last for 5minutes but the smoke last for 10minutes
    – Marvin
    Jan 24 '17 at 9:14
  • 1
    Are you having to fill up the coolant? Does it become low over time? Jan 24 '17 at 11:17

It sounds to me like you have condensation forming in the exhaust system. When you start up the hot exhaust gases boil it off and you get a puff of steam. you don't say exactly where you live, but does the smoke come and go with humidity or dewpoint?

  • I live in queenstown new zealand. How many minutes test to warm up the engine. And check the exhaust? Its hot here now.
    – Marvin
    Jan 24 '17 at 9:12
  • Well, my theory doesn't make sense given then amount of time you say the smoke is happening. Condensation would be a puff for a few seconds. @paulster is asking good questions that would give better info.
    – enderw88
    Jan 25 '17 at 12:51

It also could be drain down from leaky valves where oil is dripping into the combustion chamber. Are you loosing any oil? When the white smoke comes out - if you hold a piece of glass, does it condense and then go away or does some oily residue remain?


White smoke is usually moisture, oil would have a blueish tint to the smoke. Also, condensation can from high humidity which would accumulate in the exhaust system.

Check your oil and look for moisture, a blown/leaky head gasket could cause the white smoke. To test it, after the car has been running for a while and engine temperature has been brought up to up normal, shut off your motor and wait a few minutes before restarting. If the there still is white smoke, I would seriously check the head gasket.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.