hi--I just started my reliable 2003 Escape and there is white smoke coming out of exhaust pipe. New exhaust system was installed in May. what the heck? i am afraid of the word "gasket"--is that relevant?


Asked by Jan 04, 2015 at 01:41 PM about the 2003 Ford Escape XLT 4WD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

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6 Answers


It's possible. Could be vapor for various reasons. How about checking the oil and then taking off the radiator cap? If fluids are mixing you might see something unusual.

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If it's billowy white smoke, pull the oil dip stick. If there's white milky "goop" on it the head gasket has failed. HTH. -Jim

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no milky goop-----feeling slightly less fearful of the "gasket" word....thanks

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Glad to hear that! If its running normally and not using an excessive amount of fluids I'd say it's ok. Vehicles will put out water vapor (white smoke) in cooler weather. It's perfectly normal. Concerns arise when you see coolant loss with no apparent leaking, engine running poorly, and that "goop" on the oil dipstick. HTH. -Jim

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thanks all. But i am taking it in to shop, because its been cold for a while and this is suddenly billows of white smoke. Doesn't have an odor, and a stream of liquid coming out of tailpipe. on another site, a guy told me it will turn out to be a broken head or cracked block (am i saying those words right?) Where do you usually see coolant loss? thx


Please let us know what you find out. Coolant loss will, in the event of a blown head gasket, present itself as frequently adding coolant to the radiator but not actually seeing coolant anywhere. It is possible for a head gasket to blow into the cooling jacket and be isolated there. It's rare, but it can happen. You'll want to have the shop pressure test the cooling system. The cooling system should hold pressure for at least 15 minutes. Then, with the cooling system pressurized, they'll need to start the engine. If the needle on the gauge of their pressure tester bounces the head gasket is blown into a cooling jacket. HTH. - Jim

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