Car Smoking Under The Hood But Not Overheating – Why?

Car Smoking Under The Hood But Not Overheating – Why?

Smoke coming out from under the car’s hood is always alarming. When that happens, you need to investigate the problem immediately.

What if the car is smoking under the hood but not overheating? If you haven’t experienced such a situation before, you might get confused.

Car Smoking Under the Hood but Not Overheating

If your car is smoking under the hood without overheating, there can be several issues. In this article, we will talk about this unusual situation.

Top Reasons For Car Smoking Under The Hood But Not Overheating

If you think overheating is the only reason for the smoke, you are wrong. Smoke can often be a signal that something is not working correctly.

By checking the color and scent of the smoke, you can detect a particular problem. Here are some of the common reasons why the car is smoking under the hood but not overheating.

Misplaced Oil

When you fill oil into a crankcase or gas tank, a simple spill could happen without you even noticing it. There are usually no other significant symptoms of that spilled oil.

When you drive a car, the spilled oil will burn away quickly, creating a cloud of smoke. Fortunately, this is a relatively harmless situation.

Damaged Components

Similar to the previous reason, the cause of the smoke is leaked oil. But the difference is the source.

Most of the time, leaked oil comes from the damaged valve cover gasket. If you are a car owner that has a V-oriented engine, the oil leak problem may occur regularly.

The best solution for this is to replace the valve cover gasket. It is a very cheap and easy process to handle.

So, you can complete the replacement process by yourself. Also, ignoring this small leakage will lead to much bigger leaks.

So, next time you experience your car smoking under the hood but not overheating, it might result from damaged components.

Fuel Mixture Problems

As we said earlier, from the color and scent of the smoke, you can determine its source.

If the color is black and sooty, then the cause of the smoke might be a fuel mixing problem; this is a clear indication that your car’s intake system is not working smoothly.

When the intake system malfunction, it will block the airflow to the engine. And it will increase the fuel level of the mixture.

When you are driving, this extra fuel will burn away, creating a cloud of black smoke.

So, if you ever detect black smoke coming out of your hood, make sure to check the fuel system readings.

Why Is My Car Smoking Under the Hood but Not Overheating

If the fuel sensors work smoothly, you might want to clean the cylinders and change the spark plugs. This fuel mixing problem is a common reason for car smoking under the hood but not overheating.

Electrical Smoke

One more thing you should consider is electrical smoke. If your car is smoking under the hood but not overheating, it could be the electrical wires.

Even though most wires are covered and insulated, sometimes, due to overheating, these wires can burn. It might be due to shorting; in this situation, you can observe white smoke coming out of the hood.

Also, if the alternator is the reason for the smoke, a warning will display on your dashboard immediately. So, you will know where to check and fix it.

Old Engine

Many older engines will produce a residue that may cause cars to smoke under the hood but not overheat. These residues come from burnt fuel.

Clogged PCV valves and old piston rings are the immediate cause of this smoke.

PCV valves will get blocked due to a large amount of residue. When that happens, the smoke that should go back to the engine will come out across the oil filler cap. The best way to avoid such a situation is to clean all of the residues from the engine.

How To Detect Problems From Smoke Color And Scent?

Whenever your car is smoking under the hood, you should identify the reason; to do that, you will need to figure out the color and the scent of that particular smoke.

Here are some tips related to the above topic.

  • Black Smoke: A black smoke will indicate that the fuel level of your engine is higher than usual, or the fuel mixture is not accurate.
  • White or Gray Smoke: These colors indicate that the water is in the system; also, it could be a sign of burning oil.
  • Asphalt or Tar Smell: This indicates burning oil; occasionally, the oil will escape from the system and land on the engine’s parts; afterward, it will burn away. When that happens, you will smell an asphalt or tar scent.

How To Act When Your Car Smoking Under The Hood But Not Overheating?

Even though this smoke is not a big problem, you might need to take some action to ensure safety.

Whenever your car is smoking under the hood but not overheating, try to follow the guidelines:

  • If smoke comes up while you are driving, take the car to the nearest service station and let the professional have a look.
  • If the low oil pressure and smoke come up while you drive on a highway, park your car at a safe location and turn off the engine immediately. Then, add some extra fuel to the tank and visit the nearest service center.

Wrap Up

We hope that now you know the causes of car smoking under the hood but not overheating.

And always try to detect the problem using color and scent. If you can successfully determine the problem, you can save your car from disasters, and it will save a lot of time and money for you.