Smoke Coming Out of Oil Dipstick: Causes and Fixes

Various occurrences frighten vehicle owners, especially a situation of smoke coming out of oil dipstick in a car. Although it is not unnatural for smoke to come out of this component; however, excessive smoking can be a symptom of a problem.

In that case, it is a problem that you must attend to this issue as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary damages. Of course, identifying a problem and fixing it quickly can help curb any further complications.

Therefore, this article unveils what it means to have a smoke release from your vehicle’s dipstick. It also recommends how to fix the problem once you identify it. Kindly take a moment to digest the following sections below.

smoke from oil dipstick diesel

Read Also: How to Read Dipstick?

What does it mean smoke coming out of oil dipstick?

White smoke from the oil dipstick signifies that you have worn out or bad piston rings. Besides the white or grey smoke that comes from the dipstick hole when a car’s piston rings go bad, it also manifests a few other symptoms.

Some of the symptoms include; excessive oil consumption, poor acceleration, poor engine performance, and loss of power.

However, the smoke coming out of the dipstick is a major symptom that you will easily identify. Kindly note that white smoke from dipstick in a diesel engine is pretty similar to the same problem in a gasoline-powered engine.

A dipstick is a metal measurement device like a flat rod with a plastic ring handle. It is used to ascertain the oil level in a vehicle’s engine. The dipstick also helps to know the engine oil condition, as well as the engine’s internal health.

Remember that engine oil plays a vital role in the performance and efficiency of the engine. Therefore, the importance of knowing the oil level per time cannot be overemphasized. Oil shortage can be very risky because of the damage it causes to a vehicle’s engine.

However, a worn-out piston ring is another challenge that needs an immediate response in order to curb imminent problems. The piston rings are responsible for allowing oil to lubricate the walls of the cylinder and other moving parts. However, it ensures that oil doesn’t enter the combustion chamber.

If these components wear out, break or get stuck, it will result in the oil flowing into the combustion chamber and burning during the combustion process. This automatically triggers the release of smoke out of the vehicle’s oil dipstick.

That’s why oil blowing out of the dipstick in a diesel engine is a major concern. Meanwhile, this challenge can also be seen in a lawnmower, especially when you overfill the crankcase with oil. This is usually the problem of smoke coming out of oil dipstick in a lawnmower.

Read Also: No Oil on Dipstick (Causes and What To Do)

How do you fix smoke coming out of oil dipstick?

If you’re experiencing smoke coming out of your car’s oil dipstick, fixing the problem is pretty easy. However, you must study the situation in order to note whether the smoke is a one-off or consistent occurrence.

If the occurrence is one-off, you don’t necessarily have a problem. Sometimes, condensation can be built within your car’s exhaust system when the car stays outside overnight.

This can cause the engine to release steam when you start it, especially in the morning the next day. If this is the case, you most likely do not have a problem at all. Also, your car’s engine and other components that get heated up by constantly working or hot temperatures can release steam when in contact with water.

Therefore, it is essential to know whether you’re interpreting steam as smoke coming out of specific vital components within your car’s engine compartment. However, once you identify that your car’s oil dipstick is truly giving off smoke, especially repeatedly, rectify the problem as soon as possible.

In order to fix the problem, kindly replace the worn-out or broken piston rings most likely responsible. The parts are quite inexpensive, ranging from around $30 – $200, depending on the vehicle’s make and model.

While some vehicle parts costs are relatively cheap, the labor cost of fixing the part can be five times the part purchase price. This is somewhat the case of bad piston rings in a car.

However, even though the parts cost less than half a thousand dollars, the labor cost is relatively expensive. It is estimated around $1,000 – $4,000. Nevertheless, the location and auto technician also determines how much you spend on labor cost.

Nevertheless, irrespective of the repair cost, fixing a smoking oil dipstick is vital to your car’s performance and efficiency. Bad piston rings can be characterized by several other negative effects.

Some of these effects include abnormal excessive oil consumption, gray or white smoke from car exhaust, loss of acceleration power, etc. These symptoms are warning signs that a bigger problem is imminent.

Therefore, neglecting the symptoms over a long period will cause more harm to your vehicle’s engine and other vital components. Of course, you don’t want to experience a total breakdown of your vehicle’s engine, because replacing a completely damaged engine can be very expensive.

So, if you’re experiencing any of these problems besides the smoking oil dipstick, replace the worn-out piston rings immediately.

Smoke Coming Out of Oil Dipstick

Final Words

This article has addressed the meaning of smoke coming out of oil dipstick in a car. It is clear that a broken or worn-out piston ring is the major challenge in this case. However, other symptoms of worn-out or bad piston rings have been outlined above in this article.

So, if your car’s dipstick is releasing white or gray smoke randomly, ensure you contact an expert auto mechanic to diagnose and fix the problem immediately. It will only cost around $1,000 – $4,000, depending on the kind of vehicle you drive. In some smaller engines, you spend only $200-$500 to replace bad piston rings.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

2 thoughts on “Smoke Coming Out of Oil Dipstick: Causes and Fixes

  1. Hello Sedrakyan,

    Sorry, you had to go through that.

    My best recommendation is, Call the garage ASAP and tell them what you find out. After that, service the car at once and drive back to the garage. Ensure you video the current state of the oil level before servicing the engine.

    It could be one of these three things:

    There was no oil in the car before they sold it to you
    You broke the oil pan on your way back
    or you they put in wrong dipstick in the engine.

    If there was no oil right from the onset, there’s a high chance it have caused some damages to the reciprocating parts of the engine. If the oil pan broke on your way back, you have to replace it ASAP. But if it is a case of a wrong oil dipstick, all you have to do is, insert the right dipstick.

  2. I bought a car Mazda 5. It is used. I bought it from the garage. They assured me that everything is normal and the oil and coolant are in place. I did not believe them and drove the car 150 km to get home. There were no indicators on the road. In the morning, the oil dipstick was dry, there was no sign of oil. It scared me. What does it mean? Will it damage the engine? What steps should I take?

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