car is blowing white smoke when starting in the morninig


Asked by Jul 04, 2007 at 11:18 AM about the 2003 Toyota Camry

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

15 Answers


Another common cause of the smoke if it is only on (start up) key words. Valve seals may be gone. Oil tends to leak by the seal while it sits. This oil is burned off on start up. Still is and extensive repair and can eventually cause other problems if not taken care of.

26 out of 26 people think this is helpful.
Adam Morgan

If it's only on start up in the morning and not a massive amount it's likely just slight moisture. It's nearly impossible to determine over the web as I really need to see it to have a good idea what you're talking about... If in doubt, take it to a shop... (And yes I know this is an old topic but while it's at the top I'll toss in my $0.02)

15 out of 15 people think this is helpful.
Jensen Lum

It's likely morning condensation, if you park it outside and in cold-ish weather. If it has a very sweet smell, it's burning coolant, which could possibly mean it's the head-gasket.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
Hemi Andersen

Many people are misled by light blue smoke, calling it white. The smell of the smoke is the key. Does it smell like antifreeze, or oil or just normal exhaust smell. The latter would be normal, condensation. The other two would spell trouble. Has anyone heard of Toyota extending the warranty to 8 years on the oil burning, sludge producing 3L V6 engines?

21 out of 21 people think this is helpful.

Many people are misguided with the smoke coming from exaust pipe in morning. Sometimes my camry sends a puff of white colored smoke at the time of start up in morning. Based on suggestions available on internet I thought of seeing mechanic about this problem. Most of the suggestions on internet were related to mixing of coolant with oil causing white smoke. My mechanic then inspected my car and then asked me question 'do you see white smoke during whole day or just at the time of start up in morning?'. I answered only in morning. He said it is quite common for a car producing white smoke in morning because of internal combustion of remaining fuel in engine. And I should not worry about it. If there is a problem of oil and coolant mixing then car will continuously produce white smoke. And that gave me a sensible answer and relief. I suggest those whoever get panic of white smoke should keep cheching their cars based on below points for a week- 1. Check coolant level every morning if it is reducing drastically day by day 2. Check oil if it has turned chocolate brown. Obseve it every morning 3. Check if car sends white smoke continuously If you see any of the above condition being satisfied then immediatly see a good mechanic. Dont get panic

47 out of 47 people think this is helpful.

My 2006 Camry does the exact same thing. Car has never overheated, yet it just started blowing the smoke about 6 months ago. Not happy with The Toyota Camry at all. Paint is cheap, radio trim has faded, rear speakers disintegrated (garage kept all the time when not at work) headliner shrinking. Reminds me of US cars of the 1980's. Toyota has lost my business forever. They may have had quality at one ime, not anymore. Bought my first Honda last year....will see how that one does. Gonna trade my Camry in for a Chevy Volt.

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.

my car start morning smoking to mach

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.

The new toyota camrys, Highlanders and klugers have engine sludge issues. If you miss a service ore two, the oil in your car will sludge up and turn into a grease type substance(Carbonated oil). this will start in the outer corners of the engine where there is less oil flow.the quickest place to see if you may have sludge is looking and poking in the bottom of the oil filler cap on your rocker box.a lot of the time mechanics miss read the white smoke on start up signs to be valve stem seals. the true cause could just be the sludge building up in the top left hand corner of your rocker box just bellow your PCV valve. this valve is a one way valve which lets air flow from the crank case through the rocker box and through a black rubber pipe into the inlet manifold to be burnt up in the combustion chamber before getting expelled out the exaust. this is to comply with emissions regulations. usualy this system works verry well.BUT when the rocker box/boxes sludge up, sludge builds up between the PCV Valve and the splash plate just bellow it in side the rocker box. this causes oil to pool up in the cavity between. sludge also builds up in the PCV Valve causing the valve to stick shut.So what happens when you start is the crank starts to build up air pressere. the Valve is stuck shut. the inlet manifold is beeing choked to help the engine start which increases the vacume on the other side of the valve. then the valve pops open a bit late due to beeing stuck. This causes a large rush of air through the valve sucking that puddle of oil just bellow it through into the inlet manifold.this gets burned up and comes out as white smoke.if tis is happening he fix is verry simple and cheap.1) order a new PCV valve from toyota. costs round $ 35 in australia. 2)remove your rocker box cover and clean it and your rocker box out! Diesel is a very good cleaning agent for this a lot of attention to the cavity just bellow the PCV Valve,flush it with diesel and shake that rocker box like you are shaking pinapples from a tree. blow it out with pressered air.while you have it off have a real good look at your valve stems and check that they are well oiled and have not got them selves in a situation where they might be running dry (due to sludge)if they are still well lubed and your car is still fairly new, the chances are this was your proplem. to test for it prior to opering your rocker box you can run your car to get the oil pumpimg(get it hot). then park it up to cool. when you go for your next start up. just as the smoke starts to come out your exaust shut it down. then remove your inlet manifold to look for oil inside. if you have this problem with one of these cars I would sudgest you do this before getting your valve seals redone as that is about a 3 grand job.... good luck...running an egine cleaning solvent through your oil would be a good idea to.

60 out of 60 people think this is helpful.

Thank you so much Aurion08 for posting this. It did turn out that the PCV system was the main culprit in the case of my old 1996 Camry that had an intermittent but very annoying and acrid smelling smoking problem (mostly startups after sitting for a while, sometimes when acelerating after stops). The PCV system appears to be sucking in the oil at these times. Hope I can still contact you or that you somehow come back across this thread so you know how much you helped me by posting on this and putting together how the sludging problem and PCV system combine to produce the smoking.

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.

No Problem 96 Camry. As a side note for any one else that may wish to test if this may be the problem with there troubles, you only need to pull the pipe off your PCV valve, Block up the side that goes to your throttle body (your car wont start with it open as there will be no vacume in the vacume chamber.)a bolt just the right diameter stuck in the pipe will do the job.put a clean piece of rag over the PCV valve with an elastic band just to stop dust going in the rocker box if it sticks open.your car will run just fine like this.start up and see how you go.IT MAY TAKE UP TO 5 DAYS TO STOP you will still have lots of oil lining the inside of your throttle body.because your engine runs so hot it will slowly thicken and run down on to the top of your inlet valves when it will still get the smoky start up problem but eventualy after about 3 to 5 days it will be all burned up. good luck :) ......and service your car!

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
Ryan Tyre

Sometimes too much oil in your car can cause it to smoke also on startup , I have a 97 Toyota Tacoma with the 3rzfe 4 banger this is the best vehicle I have ever owned , still as tight as the day I bought it , and the quality of Toyota has dropped because they are putting more America in what use to be an all Japanese vehicle and the two do not mix at all , don't get me wrong I love America but the standards for American made cars are just lower , I'm sorry , just my opinion

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

steelerain, your an idiot. Toyota makes the most reliable vehicle ever. I've got over 200,000 on my '01 Camry. We've got 3 more Toyota's in the family. '08 Taco and 83 Land Cruiser and '13 Camry. If you properly maintain them they will last forever. Have fun driving around in your Chevy own by the federal government

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

There a numbers of possible issues here Dawg, but they all add up to you seeing a mechanic as soon as you can. White smoke usually indicates coolant mixing in the combustion, which in turn often indicates a head gasket problem or possibly a problem with the head itself. If there is coolant present in your oil (the oil will be runny) you should not drive the car. If you have had a sever overheating of the car recently this is probably treh result of that. Again, in any event you should seek professional help immediately. Here's a site that troubleshoots exhaust smoke. Good luck!

28 out of 28 people think this is helpful.
Shemika Smith

I'm having problems with my car smoking from exhaust thick white smoke and it stinks I have a 1996 canary any answers with what could be wrong

Shemika Smith


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