I have a Honda Civic 2003 gx 1.7 liter vTec stick shift 4 cylinder. Just today I had to put oil in my car. Drove for about 5 minutes got to a light and when I shifted into first gear a white cloud of smoke came out the tailpipe, stopped and let it cool for about 3 hours (had to run an errand) turned the car back on and bum again the white cloud. When driving it, the car doesn't accelerate as it did before putting the oil. Any help what can it be ?

1 Answer 1


Does the white smoke smell sweet like antifreeze? The loss of power plus the white smoke points directly at a bad head gasket. They don't last forever and it sounds like yours just got used up (coincidentally right around the time that you changed the oil).

Head gaskets on those VTECs can be replaced in your garage. However, I wouldn't recommend the job to a novice. The steps aren't technically hard but it is critical that they be done correctly (e.g., setting the engine to top-dead-center).

If you haven't done this sort of work before, I'd recommend taking it to a shop that you trust. You'll pay far more for the labor than the parts (gaskets are pretty cheap) but you won't break your engine.

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    Completely agree ... was almost done with just about the same answer. Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 11:44
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    I didnt change the oil I just added a little bit more and then later on like 5 minutes it started to happen. Yes it smells like antifreeze. Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 14:33
  • @UlisesDelgadillo, then I think you have strong evidence to support the hypothesis. I'd recommend that you talk to your shop and tell them "I think I blew my head gasket." They can do a compression check to confirm the loss of pressure but, at that age, it's not the worst idea in the world to replace the gasket anyway.
    – Bob Cross
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 16:26
  • Perhaps it couldnt be that I over filled the engine with oil? Turn on the car today and no white smole and no more smell but checked the temp gauge and it got to the middle by the time I started the second lap around my block Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 18:33
  • @UlisesDelgadillo, burning oil would be gray and smell different. Coolant can't get into the combustion chamber too many different ways: a broken head gasket is the easiest one. Overfilling oil can be bad but is unlikely to break things in the ways that you describe: mechanics.stackexchange.com/q/1125/57
    – Bob Cross
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 18:45

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