Buick Enclave: White Exhaust Smoke Diagnosis


The color of your exhaust can tell you a lot about the health of your Buick Enclave’s engine and emissions systems. When there is white smoke coming from the exhaust, it can mean a few things. It’s not necessarily anything to be concerned about.  But, a LOT of it can be a sign of big trouble.  We’ll cover all of the potential causes of the white smoke directly below.

White Exhaust Smoke Buick Enclave

Common Causes of White Exhaust Smoke:  Buick Enclave

White smoke itself is not necessarily an indication that something is wrong.  Here are some of the most common things that cause it broken down by smoke thickness.  Keep in mind that some smoke is completely normal at times.


Thin Smoke

When you fist start your vehicle (espescially in colder climates) white smoke is normal until the engine warms up.  If it’s cold enough, it may never go all the way away.  This white smoke is a natural part of the combustion process.


Thick White Smoke

Thick white smoke that looks “pillowy” is not something to be ignored.  You know your Enclave.  If something just feels off or different about it, take it in and have a mechanic look at it.  A lot of white smoke typically indicates the following problems:

  • Overheating Engine–  The white smoke can indicate the engine is overheating.  Check the temperature gauge.  If you don’t have one there should be a warning light.  If the engine is overheating currently, get it shut off as soon as safely possible.  It’s only a matter of time before it cracks a head or blows a head gasket.
  • Blown Head Gasket–  Most of the time, when a head gasket blows, it’s because then engine has overheated.  When the head gasket blows, it typically causes more than just white smoke.  White smoke is often the most visible symptom of a blown head gasket.

Buick Enclave White Smoke Coming from Exhaust

Here are some of the other symptoms of a blown head gasket in the Buick Enclave:

  • Loss of engine coolant
  • Overheating engine
  • Bubbles in the radiator
  • “Milky” white oil (or buttery looking)
  • Rough and choppy idle
  • Lack of engine power

If your engine is running rough, and billowing out white smoke, it very well could be either a blown head gasket, or a cracked head.  

It’s important not to ignore a potential blown head gasket.  As the engine coolant leaks into the oil system, the oil looses its ability to properly lubricate the engine.  Eventually the engine will seize.


Cracked Head or Engine Block

The symptoms of a cracked head are similar to that of a blown head gasket.  Check the oil and see if it’s milky, or has bubbly oil.  A compression check is often recommended when determining whether or not a head or head gasket is blown.



White smoke can be alarming, but it’s often inert.  If you aren’t sure about whether or not the smoke is typical white smoke, have your Enclave looked at.  A blown head gasket is nothing to ignore.  If you feel like there is anything that you would like to add, please leave a comment below.  Good luck!