Why Does Water Come Out Of The Exhaust When The Car Engine Is Running? – Do you often find the water coming out of the exhaust when you start the car engine in the morning? If so, do you understand why this happened? And is it dangerous? In this article, we will discuss in full the reason water comes out of the exhaust when the car engine is running.
Water that comes out of the exhaust when the engine is running is not a rare occurrence. This can happen to your gasoline ICE car or a hybrid car with a gasoline ICE engine. Both on conventional and hybrid vehicles if this happens does it indicate a problem with your vehicle? The exhaust system in a vehicle is responsible for many things. Some of these do treat exhaust gases, remove harmful substances before the exhaust gases escape into the air, and obviously limit the noise caused by your ICE engine working process. Many are familiar with this system and maybe that’s all the drivers understand. With such an understanding, it is clear to make drivers worry when they see water coming out of the exhaust when the engine is running.
Read more: Where do HC and CO in car exhaust come from?
Why Does Water Come Out Of The Exhaust When The Car Engine Is Running?
Water coming out of your car exhaust is a common phenomenon. But to understand all that is not a simple matter. There are conditions in order to really understand this. At least we need to first understand some basic knowledge about what are the molecules that makeup exhaust gases in cars. Here is the composition of the exhaust gas in a car.
- Carbon Monoxide (CO). Carbon monoxide is the first composition of car exhaust gases. This gas comes from incomplete combustion. There are times when the engine starts and lacks oxygen. With the lack of oxygen, incomplete combustion occurs. This incomplete combustion results in some of the gas being unable to become CO2. Well, the gas that cannot turn into CO2 then becomes CO.
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2). CO2 gas is the second molecule present in car exhaust gases. It is the end product of burning gasoline. CO2 gas is the initial combination of air in the combustion reaction with gasoline.
- Hydro Carbon (HC). Then there is the unburned Hydrocarbon. It is part of the gasoline fuel. We can say the rest of the gasoline cannot be burned due to a lack of oxygen from the air that enters the combustion chamber. But it can also be from an inefficient ignition problem.
- Water (H2O). The composition of the car exhaust gas is water or some kind of water. This molecule is also a product of the oxidation of gasoline, when it comes out it will be in the form of water vapor.
As you have read above, it is clear that there are water molecules from the exhaust gases in a car. These molecules will obviously pass through the exhaust system and pass through the exhaust gas treatment section. The exhaust gas treatment system part will absorb some of the water molecules (condense) and some will be pushed out of the exhaust pipe. Well, the water molecules that pass through the exhaust pipe are what we see when the engine is running and there are water droplets in the exhaust. And this is also the main cause of water coming out of the exhaust when the engine is running.
Then is it only the incomplete combustion process as above that causes water to come out of your car’s exhaust? Apparently not. There are still other things that can cause this to happen.
Other Causes Of Water Out Of The Exhaust When The Engine Is On
We already know the main cause of water can come out of the exhaust when the engine is running. Remember it will often happen in the morning. Because at this time, oxygen is lacking and results in incomplete combustion. However, there are other things that can cause water to come out of the exhaust other than due to lack of oxygen in the air entering the combustion chamber and incomplete ignition. What’s that? Here are some things that we know cause water to come out of the exhaust when the engine is running.
Water Condensation Occurs
Another cause of water coming out of the exhaust is the first water condensation on your vehicle. The cycle when the engine is running is a four-step cycle in which there is a combustion process between the fuel and air mixture. In addition to energy, the combustion process produces by-products, namely water, and carbon dioxide. This will further increase with the factors we discussed above earlier.
After the engine stops working, the engine will get colder and colder over time. The same will happen in the engine combustion chamber. This results in condensation coming out of the exhaust. Is this worrying? Not if it is true that the water that comes out of the exhaust is the result of condensation. This is completely normal and any petrol engine will experience the same. Again, this usually happens in the morning. However, this can happen throughout the day when you start the engine when the engine has not been running for a long time, for example, several hours. Because after a few hours, the possibility of condensation is very large.
Condensation While the Car Engine Is On
When the engine is running, it means the engine is getting hot enough. The normal temperature when your car is running on an internal combustion engine is between 195 degrees F and 220 degrees F and can reach around 250 degrees F. That kind of heat, on average, comes from the engine at the start of the engine. When you start the engine, the engine temperature will increase and that is something we cannot avoid. No matter how good your cooling system is, heat theory will ensure that engine temperature increases over time.
During the process of increasing engine temperature, condensation will occur in the exhaust. So, it could be that the water will come out not only moments after your car engine starts, but can be up to several miles away. However, if water continues to drip through the exhaust after several kilometers of travel, then it’s not uncommon. You should start to worry if this happens. And the only way if you are not a hobbyist, then take it to a repair shop to check your car engine.
Catalytic Converter Works Well
Another cause of water coming out of the exhaust when your car’s engine is running is the catalytic converter. It is an important part of the exhaust system of a car. Without this component, it is difficult for the earth to be free from pollution as it is today. Or at least not the very severe level of pollution on earth today.
Everyone considers a catalytic converter as a silent “guard” to help keep the environment green – clean. When the car engine works, the process of burning fuel and air will emit a series of emissions that are harmful to the environment (CO2, H2O, N2). To reduce these pollutants, the researchers created a catalytic converter. A component in the exhaust system that converts harmful emissions into other forms of waste that have less impact on the environment. A substance that is not harmful is water (H20). During the conversion process, it creates water vapor that resides in the exhaust pipe. With the engine running, this will push the water out of the exhaust. This is a normal process and indeed a sign that your catalytic converter is functioning properly.
However, this will only happen a few moments after the engine starts. And again, if this happens all the time the engine is running, then obviously you need to worry. It must be a problem with your machine. And take it to the workshop to get proper treatment from the experts there.
Pistons Are Wearing
For the three cases above that we have discussed, you don’t really need to worry about your vehicle. At least, your car can still run normally. Well, in this third case, the piston is wearing out, and it’s clear that your car is in big trouble.
Damaged or worn pistons can affect the operation of the cylinder and combustion chamber. The driver needs to find the cause to solve it. This could be from bad oil, engine lack of oil, infrequent oil changes, or even a bad cooling system. You need to find the cause so as not to reduce engine power. And a clear symptom when the piston is damaged is that you will detect water coming out of the exhaust pipe.
The hallmark of damage to the piston is usually when there is water coming out of your car’s exhaust, there will be a smell of burning oil. In addition, the car will also emit dark or blue smoke. And if it looks very thick and you will smell a strange smell. Engine oil will start to leak into the combustion chamber when the piston rings lose their function. As a result, the oil will ignite and produce the deep blue-gray exhaust fumes you see.
Cylinder Head Gasket Damaged
A damaged head gasket is just as bad as the piston wears out. This is a serious sign of damage to your car. The cylinder head gasket separates the cylinder head and cylinder block. This gasket also has the responsibility to ensure that the coolant radiator does not cross into the combustion chamber or into the oil gallery. The same goes for keeping the oil in the line while the engine is running so it doesn’t get into the coolant line.
What happens when the cylinder head gasket is damaged? This is clearly a big problem. When the gasket is damaged, steam with water comes out of the exhaust as white smoke. This is a sign that the engine is losing coolant due to a leaking head gasket. This is if the gasket is light to moderately damaged. If the gasket has serious problems even if it breaks, what will happen is that the coolant will be mixed with oil or vice versa.
How to solve the problem of water dripping from the exhaust when the engine is running?
Once again I say that water dripping from the exhaust when the engine is running is a natural phenomenon as well as unnatural. This means that your machine can be in good condition but it can also be in a dangerous condition. To determine which one actually happened is to identify the condition of the water when it came out of the exhaust.
If the water coming out of the exhaust is a by-product (slightly) and it doesn’t have a weird smell, that’s a normal condition. Your machine is in good condition and you can use it properly. This happens only about 5 minutes from the condition the engine first started. However, if it’s longer than that, try taking the vehicle for 15 minutes walking, then the water vapor that comes out of the exhaust will disappear if you live in a fairly cold area.
However, if the water leaks out of the exhaust and there is a strong smell like burning, then it is an engine problem. Not only that, there may be no smell but if water comes out of the exhaust and is accompanied by dark gray smoke, that’s also a problem with your engine. Taking it to a repair shop is probably the best way to find out what’s wrong with your machine. At least with this article, you know what may be damaged if indeed it is a phenomenon that brings your car into damage.
Conclusion: Water Come Out Of The Exhaust
Not a few are asking, why is water coming out of my car exhaust? Seeing water from your exhaust can be a sign of condensation. Condensation is a normal phenomenon and you don’t have to worry about it. It’s different if the water is also gray or smells bad. Then it’s true that your car is in trouble.