1999 Pontiac Sunfire – Smoke Coming From Engine

Reader Question: I bought a 1999 Pontiac Sunfire for my son on Friday 1500.00.The person selling it said he was a mechanic, and it was at a shop. He said it needed 60 dollars parts to pass the safety – Pads, rotors, wheel bearing.

2 days later, my son was on the way to the shop to get the safety done, when the car stalled out, smoke coming from engine. When he got it started it was making a loud horrible clunking and clicking noise and could only drive 10-15 kms.

Seller would not even look at it, said not his problem we were stuck with it so off to small claims we will go.

Anyway, it is towed to the shop and they will hopefully look at it this weekend (shop is where my son’s friend works, so we are low on the list of priorities). Does this sound like the engine has blown? Can you even move a car that has a blown or seized engine?

I expect this car was a wreck and the guy fixed it up long enough to take our money and get out of the driveway. The only other things I noticed the first day was white smoke coming out of the exhaust, the alternator was whining, and apparently the power steering fluid was leaking due to overfill so the guy said, but I suspect it was cracked. The cars steering had a thump thump thump that he said was a strut.

Can you shed any light on this for me? I am still in shock with being duped out of 1500.00 being a single mom but do you think this could be something not as drastic as a blown engine?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you,


Hey Jackie,

If you saw white smoke out the exhaust of the vehicle, it probably means there is/was an internal coolant leak inside the engine like from a blown head gasket or some other drastic engine damage.

Severe engine overheating is the main cause of head gasket failure, and in some cases, coolant from the radiator will enter the engine oil compartment and turn the engine oil a brown chocolate milkshake color.

First thing you need to have done here is get a cooling system pressure test to see if there is indeed an internal coolant leak. This is a quick and inexpensive test that can usually be done while you wait.

If they do suspect you have a head gasket or some kind of internal coolant leak, you might want to try this over the counter additive trick first and see what happens.

Engine Block Sealer Additive Tips

Here is an article about smoke colors and what they mean:

Exhaust Smoke Colors and What They Mean

Austin Davis

Posted in: Exhaust Smoke

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