My 1996 Honda Accord Has a Strange Smell and Water Out the Tailpipe

Reader Question
Mr. Austin Davis

I hope that you are in a very good health.

Three month ago I have bought used car Honda accord 1996; I am working in Gulf area (KSA).

Before I bought it, I tested it by computer; it gave test for cylinders (98, 100, 99,100). But give excessive CO2.

Performance of car is very good.

Scenario of problem if someone press accelerator i.e. raise RPM and continue raise RPM no smoke come, then decrease RPM to minimum no smoke come, then slowly increase RPM again too small amount of white smoke from exhaust appear and then smoke disappear fast i.e. it is cut, continue raising RPM no smoke come again.

Another notice while some one raise RPM and decrease it again you can see small drops of water come from exhaust

Sometimes If I close windows I smell strange adore may be fuel accurately I can not define it.

Performance too good, level of oil stable, I changed oil of motor after 1300 Kilo meter to check it, and it was too clean.

What is the problem in car, if it is big?

Accept all my regards.

Yours Mohamed

Hello There Mohamed

Yes, I am in great health, thank you for asking.

I am not 100% sure I follow your complaint. The water droplets from the tailpipe are probably normal condensation; unless the engine is using coolant from the radiator I would not be worried about that.

If the engine is running “rich” meaning it is burning or trying to burn too much fuel, you will see an increase in CO emissions, but if you say the engine runs fine, and you did not complain of black smoke coming from the tailpipe or poor fuel mileage or engine performance I would not be too concerned with that either.

The smell, I think I would take the radiator cap off the radiator and inspect the coolant level (with the engine cold of course) you could have a heater core leak inside the cab of the car which will produce a sweet smelling odor, which will also cause the windows to fog up on the inside and might cause your eyes to become irritated.

If you have to continually add coolant to the radiator, I would have your mechanic perform a cooling system pressure test to find the leak. The test is quick, easy and cheap. This test will also determine if there is a more serious condition like a leaking head gasket, that WOULD produce water out the tailpipe and high CO emissions. It does not sound like you have this condition, but for peace of mind a cooling system pressure test could help rule this problem out.

An engine misfire can also cause high CO emissions – worn out or bad spark plugs and spark plug wires – distributor cap or ignition rotor can all cause misfire conditions……but you say the car runs fine, so this might not be happening??

Keep me posted please as to what you find out.


Austin C. Davis

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