By January 10, 20060 Comments Read More →

Water and Steam is Coming From My Car’s Tailpipe Why?

Reader Question
Hi when i was letting my car warm-up I notice that what I thought was water moisture coming out of the tailpipe was not a solid mist but litlle drops blowing out.

I held a paper towel in front of the pipe and had someone lightly punch the gas then it was a little more of like if you did a light spray of window cleaner on a paper towel.

How serious is now I have notice I have been going through oil more often.
Thank you
Rena B.

Hello Rena,

Some water droplets and some white steam coming from the tailpipe on first start up…usually worse on humid days, is normal. Once the engine heats up to normal operating temperature (about 210 degrees F) the water should dry up and go away.

If there is water or steam from the tailpipe after you have been driving around awhile and the engine is at operating temperature….then you might have a problem, but from what you told me I don’t think you have a problem.

If the engine is using or “burning” engine oil, you should see BLUE smoke coming from the tailpipe. If you don’t see any smoke out the tailpipe, but still feel oil is being consumed, ask your mechanic to use a thicker weight engine oil and see if that helps slow down oil consumption.

Austin C. Davis

Rena’s follow up
Thanks for getting back to me, I forgot to mention that above on the bumper is an oily residue i though at first was maybe road grime…I’ll wipe it off then see after driving how much residue builds up.
Thanks again,

My reply


You might want to talk to your mechanic about using thicker weight engine oil from now on. Thicker engine oil helps to slow down oil leaks and internal engine consumption…commonly referred to “burning oil”. You see this oil residue on the bumper because the engine is blowing it out the tailpipe, probably because an internal oil seal inside the engine is worn causing oil to slip past the seal and out the exhaust.

Thicker oil will help to slow this process down. There are also a few oil additives that might help as well, your mechanic might have one he feels would be worth a try depending on the climate in your area.

Austin Davis

Posted in: Reader Questions

Got Something to Say?