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Ellen, Consultant
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Experience:  attorney and legal researcher
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2011 Nissan armada smokes 4-5 seconds after starting when

Customer Question

2011 Nissan armada smokes 4-5 seconds after starting when setting for 5-6 hours.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Jared D replied 5 months ago.


When the vehicle is smoking does it seem to dissipate quickly or is it smoke that hangs in the air for a little bit?

Do you have oily residue in the exhaust pipe?

Expert:  Jared D replied 5 months ago.

I just noticed that this question is a duplicate. I'll have it closed as a duplicate and we can work on the other question.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
dissipates fast. no oily residue
Expert:  Jared D replied 5 months ago.

Ok. Does it smell like burning oil?

Do you have to add oil every few weeks?

Quickly dissipating with no oily residue doesn't sound like smoke from burning oil.

The catalytic converter on this car is very efficient. I would say that the most likely cause of the smoke is probably left over water vapor in the exhaust system being burned out as the engine first starts up.

Normally the only cause of oil burning smoke on start up is leaky valve guide seals. That's not very common on this engine. Almost unheard of really. The solution would be to have the cylinder heads pulled and the valve guides replaced- that's going to be really expensive.

What you are seeing is most likely normal for this type of vehicle and is simply a good indicator that the pollution control system is working as it should.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I am no mechanic, but anyone knows this is not normal.
Expert:  Jared D replied 5 months ago.

If it is white "smoke" that dissipates quickly with no oil smell, no oily residue, and no signs that the engine is burning oil, it is perfectly normal.

Normal combustion creates carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, some small levels of hydrocarbons, and water. The more efficient the combustion and the catalytic converter is working, the less oxides of nitrogen, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide is produced, and more water and carbon dioxide are generated. If the water vapor is condensing in the exhaust system shortly after you turn the vehicle off and let it sit for a few hours it will be flash burned into steam within the first few seconds of starting the engine.