Smoke coming from engine while running


Asked by Aug 01, 2015 at 12:07 PM about the 1988 Pontiac Firebird Formula

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

So the other day I was driving my 88
firebirdike usual when I noticed the
smell of antifreeze and eventually
smoke coming from the engine bay. I
pulled over to turn the engine off and
when I opened the hood, smoke
poured out. I left the car there and
came later that night to drive her
back home and investigate later.
Today washed he engine bay to get
rid of any anti freeze that waseft over
on the engine from condensation and
after 5 minutes of running, Smoke
started to slowly come from the
exhaust manifold area of the car and
she slowly started over heating.
Couldn't locate an actual leak
visually from the exterior but worried
it's probably coming from inside the
engine. I had a problem with this car
similar to this where anti freeze was
leaking from from the top of the
engine but fixed that problem with
some head gasket sealant poured
into the radiator which fixed that
problem, I'm assuming the head
gasket cracked somewhere else now
though. Any suggestions?

7 Answers

Fritz Hammersen

It sounds like you got it. Do a pressure test of the cooling system. You can borrow testers from most parts stores generally with a $100 deposit or so which is refunded upon return of the tool. If the leak is internal check the oil for mix. if its internal you will know it right away from the milky color of the oil.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Fritz is right on track. Good information. The only thing I respectfully disagree with is about is you can buy outright a pressure/ leak detector for $38 from Amazon ...including all the different caps, image take from Amazon


It is not smoke it is steam. But both are correct you MUST do a pressure check maybe a friend has a pressure checker you. can use


Mao a pressure checker will tell me if its an internal problem or not? If it is, what is the course of action?

Fritz Hammersen

If its internal you will see a oil water mix it will have a milky appearance to it.


If it is internal, what would be the next step or best solution?

Paul Martin

I would think a head gasket replacement is necessary if the engine is worth it? Maybe do a compression test before you spend the money on fixing the head gasket?

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