5 Causes of Water Coming Out of the car exhaust


Posted by: Oluwaseun Solomon

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Should you be alarmed if you see water coming out of your car exhaust? Check out these top 5 reasons why such a thing happens to most cars in this article.

Many people are naturally used to seeing very little or high amounts of smoke (fume) coming out from the exhaust of cars but not water. This is one reason new car owners usually panic when they see water coming out of the exhaust of their vehicle even though its not always as bad as they think.

To help keep such people informed, we have listed and discussed below the top 5 causes of water coming out of the car exhaust, read on!


Water coming out of the exhaust of a car is usually caused by “normal” car processes and rarely ever a big issue

Top 5 causes of water coming out of the car exhaust

If you ever notice that water is coming out of the exhaust system (tailpipe) of your car; don’t panic because it is usually not much of a big deal. Yes, the phenomenon is usually resultant from normal processes of a car that is in good condition.

However, there are few occasions whereby the cause of water coming out of a car’s exhaust is abnormal and needs serious attention. Read the highlighted points below to understand when you should panic and when you should not.

1. Engine Heat

This is one of the common and normal causes which do not require you to panic at all especially if you live in a very cold area or when it’s the “cold” time of the season. In such cases, you will notice water coming out of your car exhaust more often because your vehicle’s engine will usually get very hot to stay functional.

Most of the components of your car’s engine will generate a lot more heat in such times because of the cold environment especially when you start up the vehicle after being parked for a while. So, what you are seeing is simply water vapour resulting from the combination of heat coming from the engine and the cold air from your environment. If you keep the engine running a little longer after noticing water coming out of the exhaust; the water should all dry up by itself in just a few minutes.


Water vapour coming out of your car’s exhaust could be as a result of heat from the engine combined with cold air around you

>>> You might also be interested in: 7 tools you must have in your garage in Nigeria

2. Condensation

Whenever the engine of an ICE (Internal Combustion) car has just completed a long drive or some minutes of “warming up”, there is usually a resultant mixture of water and Carbon dioxide formation.

So, whenever the vehicle is given time to actually cool down, some of the remaining “exhaust” gases will eventually leave the inner chambers through the tailpipe(s) to the outside.

This condensation process of the exhaust gasses apparently causes the dripping water that is usually seen coming out of the car’s exhaust.

3. Catalytic Converter

As a new car owner, you probably don’t even understand the components of your vehicle’s exhaust system, not to talk of knowing ways to troubleshoot or check for a faulty catalytic converter.

Don’t panic because all that knowledge is not necessary for this particular situation but rather just keep in mind that the catalytic converter could be the cause of the water coming from the exhaust.

This is not a bad thing but instead a “good” or normal thing because the catalytic converter helps to reduce the size of toxic carbon gases that come out of your car’s tailpipe.

By so doing, they can cause small water vapour to come out of the car’s exhaust as a result of the process of detoxifying the harmful gasses originally coming from the engine.


The Catalytic converter is a component of a car’s exhaust system that sometimes cause water to come out of the tailpipe

>>> Read more: 6 symptoms of a bad catalytic converter you can check easily

4. Faulty Piston (the abnormal cause)

Out of this entire list of causes of water coming out a car’s exhaust, this is the only one that is actually very bad or to simply put “abnormal”.

This particular case should not be so difficult to spot because you will not only notice water coming out of your car’s exhaust but also see lots of smoke/fumes coming out of the exhaust simultaneously. That it is the only time you should panic.

As a matter of fact, you could also be perceiving a “burning” smell in the cabin of the car apart from the water and heavy smoke coming out of the car’s exhaust. When you notice such a combination of signs, please park the car and avoid driving it till you are able to get your mechanic to help check what went wrong.

You should probably tow the car to the nearest car repair shop and particularly have the experts check the piston rings and/or pistons in the car if you notice such signs.


Bad/faulty piston can cause water and smoke to be coming out of the tailpipe alongside burning smell in the cabin

5. Human Cause (don’t take this lightly)

If you happen to have kids that have access to your garage then, you should probably be aware that they could pump water into the exhaust of your car when playing around.

This could be the reason why you suddenly notice that water is coming out of the tailpipe when you are trying to take it for a drive. We will strongly advise that you keep water hoses, buckets of water and taps closed whenever your kids are having fun around the car to avoid “stories that touch”.


Water dripping from the tailpipe of your car might have been pumped directly by kids having fun around the car

If you are in doubt and still wish to hear an auto expert explain some of the above-listed causes of water coming from a car’s exhaust then, watch this video below;

  Why Water Comes Out of Your Car’s Exhaust Pipe


Apart from all the above-listed top 5 causes of water coming out of the car exhaust, we will also like to remind you that water could get into your vehicle’s tailpipe when driving through a flooded area. So, you shouldn’t be surprised if tiny water droplets start coming out of the exhaust when you finally park your car at home. Don’t panic, stay calm, and let it dry out after a while 😊.

>>> Keep visiting Naijauto daily to get the best Car tips and advice

>>> Also check out other topics: Car price updatesCar reviews, and Cars for sale!

Oluwaseun Solomon

Oluwaseun Solomon

Market news

Oluwaseun Solomon is a prolific and diligent automobile writer at Naijauto.com. He's also an experienced digital marketer and a creative multimedia developer that specializes in video editing. He currently contributes informative and easy to read articles on topics covering transportation, traffic updates, auto industry updates, and different car reviews.
When Solomon is not writing, you will either find him composing music, editing videos or simply enjoying YouTube "TEDx Talk" videos with a chilled drink :)

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