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Need opinion on car issue


xboom28x

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I have a 2004 Mazda 6. Each morning when I start the car a puff of white smoke exits the exhaust. Depending on how much I drove the car the day before the white smoke could be a little or a lot. But it stops fairly quickly and won't smoke the rest of the time the engine is running. Is this an oil leak? Could it be struts? I have had various opinions from 3 different mechanics which makes me wonder if anyone actually knows what the issue could be. Anyone have this issue with their vehicle before or know someone who has? I have 120,000 miles on the car. It's the best car I have had and would like to keep it 2-5 more years if possible but don't want to put tons of money into it.

 

Any help or opinions would be helpful. Thanks.

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Brake oil doesn't smoke since it is not heated, struts have nothing to do with this.

Sounds like early morning condensation in the exhaust. Parking the car at night with a warm engine the exhaust heats the cool air and forms water in the pipe. When you start up the water heats up and becomes steam.

If this occurs mid day after driving then you could have problems but right now it doesn't sound like a problem.

Edited by Eric Notti
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Actually, recently I have noticed a loss in oil. Not significant, but enough for it to be an issue. Also, this does happen in the middle of the day if I drive say 20 miles or so. Just yesterday I drove 20 miles to take my parents to lunch. When I started the car after lunch, white smoke blew out the exhaust. But the smoke stops after 5-7 seconds.

 

This last mechanic I talked to mentioned a valve seal. Is that extensive work to replace? I am thinking this could be my problem as the issues I am having are consistent with others I have seen discuss in other forums that I did a google search on.

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OK, the story keeps changing. First you say just in the morning and now it is after you restart after 20 miles. Also you see an oil loss, how much oil? How often do you add oil? I have a Mercedes and it requires a quart mid way through oil changes but is considered normal by all the Mercedes guys.

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The story isn't changing. There are just multiple way of driving that it does or doesn't happen. It has to either do with how long the car sits in the garage without being used at all, or if I drive it a fair distance. When I run errands and start and shut off the car frequently, it won't blow white smoke each time. But if it sits for an hour after driving 20 miles or so it will blow smoke. If it sits overnight in the garage after a 5 mile commute home from work, the next morning it will barely be a faint amount of smoke out of the exhaust. I'm usually down a quart and a half every 3,000 miles or so. Depends on the kind of driving I do as explained above.

 

I'm just trying to pin down what the issue might be without having to take it to a mechanic who seems to always use the business model of "let's throw something on the wall and see if it sticks."

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If it only does it after it sits then you probably just have a static leak.Oil in the exhaust tends to be white or bluish as it burns off. If it sits long enough to accumulate then you get burn off and a puff of smoke. Like Eric said, if your not adding more than a quart between changes it's probably not a huge deal. 

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If you decide to have it fixed or diagnosed because you're just not comfortable with it then make sure you are going to a reputable shop and not some guys around the corner that change tires but say he can work on engines. That's throwing money down the drain.

 

A dealer diagnostic check may just save you more money by pinpointing the problem rather than guesswork. You don't have to have the work done there but they will give you exactly what is causing the smoking at start up and you can decide from there what to do.

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Thanks Eric. I have a mechanic out here that has done work prior on the car. He was a recommendation from my brother in law and so far he has been upfront and honest with the little work he has done on the car. I just don't want to pay $2K (haven't been quoted that yet) or any large cost for that matter if that may not even be the answer that solves the problem you know?

 

It's just embarrassing at times when I start the car and this big plume of smoke comes out of the exhaust. Not impressive on first dates. Other than that, I don't care as long as it's not going to damage the engine any further. That's basically what I was trying to find out.

 

Thanks all!

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*I think pulling up with a 2004 Mazda 6 is the primary cause for embarrassment. Young, single guy out on a date and you are pulling up in a family/commuter car. If your going to roll that way at least drop a car seat in back and a baby on board sticker for the rear window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*obligatory response.

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OK, the story keeps changing. First you say just in the morning and now it is after you restart after 20 miles. Also you see an oil loss, how much oil? How often do you add oil? I have a Mercedes and it requires a quart mid way through oil changes but is considered normal by all the Mercedes guys.

 

it is?

mine doesnt need that (at least ive never heard that).

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You lease so I doubt you rack the miles I do. Mine has about 130k on it. Drives fine, gets better gas mileage than when it was new but requires oil added. Audis and BMWs have the same idiosyncrasy, beautiful performing cars but they burn a little oil.

 

This all could have been avoided if xboom had just invested in a fully restored Renault R10 sedan and then he could really wow those dates. I almost bought this one but my wife knew it was a chick magnet and said "No, oh hell no, just no." Evidently her Dad owned one and it caused marital friction. Or it leaked oil, can't remember.

 

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Edited by Eric Notti
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*I think pulling up with a 2004 Mazda 6 is the primary cause for embarrassment. Young, single guy out on a date and you are pulling up in a family/commuter car. If your going to roll that way at least drop a car seat in back and a baby on board sticker for the rear window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*obligatory response.

The spoiler on the back makes it look "racy"

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The story isn't changing. There are just multiple way of driving that it does or doesn't happen. It has to either do with how long the car sits in the garage without being used at all, or if I drive it a fair distance. When I run errands and start and shut off the car frequently, it won't blow white smoke each time. But if it sits for an hour after driving 20 miles or so it will blow smoke. If it sits overnight in the garage after a 5 mile commute home from work, the next morning it will barely be a faint amount of smoke out of the exhaust. I'm usually down a quart and a half every 3,000 miles or so. 

 

That's too much oil burn for a relatively young engine.  Maybe if you had 200K or 300K miles that would be acceptable. 

 

Aside from the smoke, I think the worst part about oil burn is remembering to keep tabs on it and refill as necessary. 

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