How to Troubleshoot a Smoking Lexus ES300by Alibaster Smith
A smoking Lexus ES300 can be traced to one of three major problems. Loss of compression in the engine will contribute to most of the major causes of smoke coming from either the tailpipe or the engine itself. Whether it is a failed radiator cap, a blown head gasket, oil leak or an improperly tuned engine, you should be able to troubleshoot the problem fairly easily.
Open the hood and start the ES300.
Check to see where the smoke is coming from. "Smoke" emitted from the radiator is actually steam. Normally, it will come from the radiator cap as the engine heats up. A failed radiator cap will keep the cooling system from doing its job. So, replace the cap and have the system checked by a professional mechanic.
Check for white smoke coming out of the tailpipe. White smoke is actually steam. If the tail pipe emits white smoke once the ES300 is at normal operating temperature, it indicates a blown head gasket. If the problem is serious, white steam will be emitting from the top of the engine as well. Take the car to a professional mechanic.
Check the tail pipe for blue smoke. That indicates an oil leak in the engine. Oil is getting into the combustion chambers, causing it to burn and be sent out the back of the exhaust system. An oil leak can be serious and potentially damage the catalytic converter, so have this problem checked and fixed immediately.
Check for black smoke. Black smoke indicates that the engine is running rich. This is typically caused by too much fuel being burned and not enough air in the combustion chamber. Have the ES300 tuned by a professional mechanic to correct the air-to-fuel ratio.
- Toyota Camry, Avalon, Solara, Lexus ES 300 Repair & Service Manual 1997-2001; Chilton Manuals; 2002