Car Blowing White Smoke After Oil Change [4 Common Causes]

The only way a car can blow white smoke after an oil change is if that oil somehow found its way into the combustion chamber and got burnt with the air/fuel mixture. However, there is more than one way for engine oil to get into the combustion chamber and get burnt. In fact, in this blog post, I will be talking about the four most common causes of why cars are blowing white smoke after an oil change.

Car Blowing White Smoke After Oil Change [4 Common Causes]

Car Blowing White Smoke After Oil Change [4 Common Causes]

If your car is blowing white smoke after an oil change, there’s a good chance it is due to one of these four common causes:

1. You overfilled the engine with oil

Car Blowing White Smoke After Oil Change [4 Common Causes]

Car owners know that routine maintenance is important to keep their vehicles running well. One of the most important tasks is checking and changing the engine oil. Engine oil helps to lubricate the engine and prevent parts from overheating. However, too much of this important fluid can cause more harm than good.

When there is too much oil in the engine, the oil is likely to overflow through the piston rings and valve seals into the combustion chamber where it will mix with the fuel/air mixture and then get burnt and produce white smoke.

But how do you actually check the engine oil level? It’s actually pretty simple. First, make sure that your car is parked on level ground. Then, open the hood and locate the dipstick. The dipstick will have a picture of an oil can next to it, making it easy to find. Once you’ve located the dipstick, pull it out and wipe it off with a clean rag.

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Then, insert the dipstick back into the tube and push it all the way in. After a few seconds, pull it back out and check the level of oil on the stick. If the oil is below the “full” line, then you’ll need to add more oil. However, if the oil is above the “full” line, then you should remove some oil to avoid overfilling the engine.

Knowing how much oil to add can be tricky, as different cars have different oil capacity requirements. The best place to start is by consulting your car’s owner’s manual. This will provide you with the specific oil capacity requirements for your make and model of car. You can also find this information online on websites such as

2. You have switched to synthetic engine oil

Car Blowing White Smoke After Oil Change [4 Common Causes]

Motor oil is essential for keeping your car running smoothly. It helps to lubricate engine parts, dissipate heat, and prevent corrosion. However, if you have been using conventional motor oils, they can become dirty and thick, reducing their ability to do their job.

Switching from conventional motor oil to synthetic motor oil can cause your car to start blowing white smoke after an oil change. The reason behind this is the strong cleaning capabilities of the synthetic oil. All of the soot and varnish that has been sitting in the valves and cylinders and clogging them, will be cleaned by the synthetic oil and will get burned into the combustion chamber.

Synthetic oils are designed to resist breakdown and maintain their performance for longer than traditional motor oils. They can also withstand higher temperatures without breaking down, making them ideal for use in high-performance engines. In addition, synthetic oils typically have better cleaning capabilities than traditional motor oils, meaning they can help to keep your engine clean and running smoothly.

So, should you switch back to conventional engine oil? Of course not. You just have to let the synthetic oil do its job and clean the engine of dirt and debris. However, you will need to keep in mind that by cleaning, the synthetic engine oil might expose some bad seals and cracked surfaces that were kept together by dirt and debris.

3. Damaged piston rings (usually present on engines with a lot of miles)

Car Blowing White Smoke After Oil Change [4 Common Causes]

Most people know that their car has an engine, but few know how that engine works. The engine is responsible for converting the energy in gasoline into mechanical energy, which powers the car. Gasoline is combusted inside the engine, and that process creates a lot of heat. The pistons in the engine are responsible for controlling the amount of heat that is generated by the combustion process.

Piston rings are one of the most important components of pistons. They play a vital role in keeping the engine operating efficiently. Piston rings create a seal between the piston and the cylinder wall, and they help to control the amount of oil that flows past the piston. This oil helps to lubricate the engine and keep it running smoothly.

Piston rings also help to control the amount of heat that is transferred from the piston to the cylinder wall. This helps to keep the engine cool and prevent damage from overheating.

There are three different types of piston rings: compression rings, oil control rings, and scraper rings. Compression rings are responsible for sealing the combustion chamber and preventing oil leakage. Oil control rings help to regulate the amount of oil that is drawn into the combustion chamber. Scraper rings help to remove any oil or debris that might collect on the piston or cylinder wall.

When the piston rings, especially the oil rings get worn out, they are unable to properly regulate the amount of oil and properly clean and scrape the oil that gets onto the cylinder walls. So, the excess oil will get into the combustion chamber where it will get burnt and produce white smoke.

4. Blown head gasket

Car Blowing White Smoke After Oil Change [4 Common Causes]

The head gasket is a seal that sits between the engine block and the cylinder head. Its main purpose is to prevent oil, coolant, and combustion gases from leaking out of the engine. The head gasket also ensures that there is enough pressure in the cylinders to properly compress the fuel-air mixture.

The head gasket is constantly exposed to high temperatures from the engine. Over time, the head gasket will develop cracks but might still do its job because of the dirt and debris from the engine oil that kind of acts as glue. But, what happens when you change the engine oil? When you change the old engine oil with a new one, especially if you switch to synthetic engine oil, the cracks on the head gasket will be exposed.

When this happens, the head gasket will no longer be able to seal the combustion chamber. In return, the engine oil will find its way into the combustion chamber and will get burned and produce white smoke. If this is the case, you will notice a loss of engine oil.

Replacing a blown/damaged head gasket is a major repair job and it can be quite expensive. However, it is important to get it fixed as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the engine.

Is It Normal For White Smoke After An Oil Change?

After an oil change, it is only normal to see white smoke for about a minute or so. This can be caused if you accidentally spilled oil on the engine and now it is getting burnt. However, if you constantly see white smoke after an oil change, there is definitely something wrong and you have to take your vehicle to a repair shop for diagnosis.

While the specifics may vary depending on your car, most engines will need an oil change every 5,000 miles or so. Over time, oil breaks down and becomes less effective at lubricating and cooling the engine. If you don’t change your oil regularly, it can lead to increased wear and tear on your engine, and potentially even damage.

The good news is that changing your oil is a relatively simple and inexpensive process. With just a few tools and some basic knowledge, you can do it yourself in no time. And even if you decide to leave it to the professionals, an oil change is still one of the most affordable maintenance tasks for your car.

After an oil change, it is not unusual to see some white smoke coming from the engine for a minute or so. However, If you see a large amount of white smoke, or if the smoke is accompanied by an unpleasant smell, then there may be a problem with the engine. In this case, it is best to take the car to a mechanic for further diagnosis. However, if you only see a small amount of white smoke after an oil change, then there is no need to be concerned.

Car Care Hacks

Hi there. I am a certified Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) mechanic since 2018 and a car detailer for 10 years.

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