What's the Colour of the Air When Your Diesel Engine Starts?

Automotive Blog

Many people think that the giant search engines are invaluable in daily life, as they help to provide instantaneous answers to questions that may pop up. You may use these online tools in research mode as you try to calculate potential repair costs associated with a sick vehicle and in this case, you may be trying to work out what is wrong with the diesel engine in your car. To help you get started, you may be able to narrow everything down by looking for some colour-coded clues. How should you get started?


Any significant problem associated with your diesel engine is likely to manifest itself in the colour of the smoke that emanates from the back. For example, if it's mostly black, it may indicate that the fuel to air ratio in the engine is out of kilter. Too much diesel may be finding its way into the mixture, or an insufficient amount of oxygen may be present. How long has it been since you cleaned the air intake? This could be the root of the problem, although it may also indicate that the fuel injectors have to be serviced.

On the other end of the spectrum, this type of smoke may indicate that the engine valves are faulty, or that the turbocharger has given up the ghost.


The air may well be blue if your car is burning an excessive amount of oil and this won't be because of your use of choice language. When the smoke is this colour it could mean that the seals on the engine valves are faulty, or that the injector pump is not performing as it should. When this happens, oil can contaminate the fuel.

It's also possible that you may have overfilled the oil when doing a recent change, but there again it could also indicate a serious problem with the cylinders of the engine themselves.


If the smoke is white, it doesn't mean that it's any less problematic. In fact, you should avoid breathing in this exhaust gas as it is relatively toxic. Here, an excess amount of fuel may have found its way into the picture, or water may be contaminating the diesel itself. When this happens, the engine will run on low compression and will be very sluggish.

You need to check that the correct volume of fuel is being delivered through the pumping system, or whether the timing of the pump itself is out.

What to Do Next

While some of these issues represent a relatively easy fix, most of them will require a visit to a local automotive repair service.


13 November 2017

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