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George H.
George H., ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 18692
Experience:  ASE Master Tech 15+ yrs, AAS Automotive Technology, Factory trained Asian specialist
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I Was told condensation comong out of tail pipe is normal..rainy

Customer Question

Hi . I Was told condensation comong out of tail pipe is normal in cold and rainy wrather when car is cold and just sitting but started
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  George H. replied 5 years ago.

Hello I will help you with your question,


Yes it is normal for modern vehicles to pour several cupfuls or a trickle of water out the tail pipe until the engine, exhaust and catalytic converter are warm enough to turn the liquid water to water vapor or steam. This usually take several minutes and in that time the water can pool in the rear of the exhaust where it will pour out the tail pipe upon acceleration.


Please let me know how I can help you with your questions


Thank you



Customer: replied 5 years ago.

the smoke or steam come out of tail pipe. I never noticed it before I live in Portland and it is very cold and rainy here. Have you hear4d of this happening to cars that sit alot. 1 of my keys was stollen when car was new. Could someone have done something to car??

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Other.
i do not think he is trained to work on mini cooper
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

do you work on minis

Expert:  George H. replied 5 years ago.

yes I do work on Minis and the principles of the condensate you are see are the same for every modern engine.

The engine and exhaust has to be hot enough to turn the water vapor you bring into the engine and the water produced by normal combustion of hydrocarbons into steam. Until the engine and exhaust is warm enough you will see clouds of condensation out of the tailpipe and may see liquid water as well.

If you observe other vehicles around you just after they are started in cold damp conditions you will see many of them with a plume of Condensate out the exhaust.

If the cloud lasts more than a few minutes then there is cause for concern but if it dissipates in that time you are seeing normal operation.

Please let me know how i can help you with this

Thank you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I let it idle for acople monutes yesterday then the steam started. Do you think its okey tu take for freeway drive. no engone or warning lights on

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
shou\d it stop after 5 minutea
Expert:  George H. replied 5 years ago.
I would drive it for twenty minutes as long as it seems to run normally and there are no warning lights on it will be safe. The steam should stop after a few minutes of operating the vehicle.

Let me know what happens once you have tried this

Thank you
George H. and other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Okey Will it be just as good to let it idle for 10 minutes? Also do you think I need to change oil that was changed 2000 and 1 year ago today. My manual says I can wait 2 years if car is barley driven, Thanks for your help. If something is wroncould make it worse. . Its hard for me to beleave that something is wrong with car unless some one got in and messed with it. A key was stollen a few years ago

Expert:  George H. replied 5 years ago.

I would run it on a high idle. The idle speed does not work the engine very hard so not much heat is produced. Driving it would be better.


I WOULD change the oil at least every year regardless of mileage, short trips cause a lot of acid buildup in the oil so it is best to get it out by replacing the oil and it gives a technician a chance to get under it for a good inspection of all the moving parts. A trained eye can spot a problem before it becomes major.


I doubt you have anything wrong with your car, run it for a while and drive it if possible then see what happens with the condensation. Have the oil changed and ask that they look the vehicle over for any needed service at that time.


Please let me know what I can do to help you with this and ask any questions you may have


Thank you



George H. and other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
It stopped after I drove it . Thanks so much/ I worried myself sick yesterday
Expert:  George H. replied 5 years ago.

Glad to help and please let me know if you have further questions


Thank you