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I've noticed that my Focus has "white smoke" coming out of the exhaust at start up, but quits after a few minutes. It doesn't smell like oil burning. The oil looks fine, but I have noticed that the coolant level is low. What could the cause be, and what can I do?
 

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def sounds like a bad head gasket!! get a compression check asap, and does your overflow bubble alot? does the exhaust smell sweet?
 

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ya could be just that when the motor cools the gaps open and water gets in cylinders while it sits and then smokes when you first start it up!! but when it warms the gaps close and smoke stops, and no overheating. but still something to get checked out with a compression check
 

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It could just be the exhaust. since the nights are getting colder here in pa i can see my exhaust for a few minutes while i'm driving right after i start it when it sits for a couple hours.
 

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I'm thinking its just steam from condensation in the exhaust. However the low coolant would be something to check. I wouldn't freak out yet but a compression check would be a good idea.
 

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White Smoke

My 2002 Focus started smoking at start up on cold days too. I recently drove from Colorado to Texas and the check engine light came on when I was going down there. Took it to a repair shop and they replaced the thermostat. When I got back to Colorado is when I noticed the smoke. I could also smell antifreeze inside the car, but it would go away. Don't know if they are all related, but the smoke and the smell only started after the thermostat was replaced.
Any thoughts?
 

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You might want to check if it's leaking!

Drip or spray onto the exh. would certainly make for some odor.

As the thread you found mentions, anything out the exh. has to be evaluated based on conditions & it's odor. When it's cold out it'll always have vapor out the pipe, particularly when the car is cold.
 

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Cold start makes water vapor that can be seen until the pipe gets hot enough to truly evaporate it up enough to not be seen. The cold start richness adds to that, car leans out when it goes to closed loop.

If coolant leaking then you should be able to tell from the sweet smell of antifreeze burning.
 
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