white car broken down on country road with smoke coming from under hood and driver checking underneath

Help! There’s Smoke Coming from Under My Hood!

What Does It Mean When I See Smoke Coming from Under My Hood?

Unless you’re hosting a bonfire for friends, seeing smoke where it shouldn’t be can definitely be scary, especially when it’s coming from your car. While we have already covered what it means when smoke is coming from your exhaust, you might be wondering about the smoke that’s appearing from under your hood. Today, we will be covering what it means when you see smoke coming from under the hood of your car. We will focus on the color and smell of the smoke so you can easily diagnose the potential issue. Read on to start learning!

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What does the color and smell of the smoke mean?

  1. White smoke with a sweet pungent smell. If you see white smoke combined with a sweet pungent smell, a radiator hose may have blown and is now spraying coolant on the hot engine. Smoking coolant will also feel oily when you inspect the area.
  2. Thick gray smoke. If you start to see this color of smoke from under your hood, it’s a sign that your transmission is causing the issue. This happens when a faulty transmission vacuum moderator sucks transmission fluid into the intake manifold.
  3. Black smoke with burning plastic smoke. This color and smell combination indicates that there has been an electrical failure, a short circuit that burned wires. This problem can lead to the lights flickering or having other electrical devices affected. You can see the smoke coming from under the hood or the passenger compartment due to the several hundred feet of wire in a vehicle.
car on side of road with smoke coming out from under hood driver checking engine and friends walking up

What do I do when I see smoke?

The first thing you should do when you see smoke coming from under your hood is to pull over to a safe area on the side of the road or in a parking lot. Make sure your car is safe to drive by looking at the gauges, warning lights, and do a visual inspection. Wait until the engine cools so you can check all the fluids. However, if you see fluid dripping or pooling on the ground, call a tow truck. You could cause more damage if you run out of fluid and have to get expensive repairs done.

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Schedule a service appointment at Freeman Motor Company today

Now that you’ve figured out why your vehicle is smoking, make sure you schedule a service appointment at Freeman Motor Company today! We have two service department locations: Portland, OR and Salem, OR.