6 Reasons Why Your Exhaust Is Leaking Water

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water from exhaust

If you’ve seen water dripping from your tailpipe, you might be wondering if this is a reason to worry. While water dripping from the automobile is typical in most situations, there are rare instances when it might be dangerous.

Your ride’s exhaust system functions by removing the byproducts produced while the engine is working. These byproducts are ejected through the exhaust pipe, and you might see a slight amount of water seeping out of your exhaust.

Water from exhaust usually doesn’t indicate a cause for panic; it simply shows that there is a small amount of water in your car’s exhaust system that has to be eliminated. Occasionally, what you observe might be a sign of something more severe.

Therefore, be certain to read this article to decide if you should get your automobile inspected by a professional or you’re just having a normal process in your engine.

Where Does Water From Exhaust Coming From?


Water that comes out of an automobile is often created from the vehicle’s vapors. When a car starts to cool, the water vapor condenses and eventually turns into water.

It is usual for the water to drop from a vehicle’s tailpipe. When a car is operated, an amount of water vapor is created. When an automobile is turned off, and the car engine cools, these vapors condense and turn into water, a few amounts of which escapes out the exhaust.

Water leaking out from the exhaust pipe is most often caused by regular liquid condensation. If the water drips from your tailpipe don’t smell, there’s generally nothing to be concerned about. However,  If it has a sweet aroma, it’s probably an indicator of coolant leaks, and that’s a significant problem.

Primary Causes Of Water Dripping Out From The Exhaust Pipe

If you find your exhaust pipe is spilling water, this simply indicates that your exhaust system has water. However, if you’re not sure about your capabilities, it’s a smart option to have this condition inspected and evaluated by a qualified mechanic. Otherwise, it may worsen the situation, costing a significant amount of money.

It’s no big deal in the majority of these instances. Typically, the worst-case scenario is that you’ll need to replace other components that will run a few hundred bucks. The following will discuss a few of the most prevalent water sources from the exhaust under normal and severe circumstances.

Normal Causes

Some drivers are uninformed that water might escape through their car’s exhaust under typical conditions. This occurs most often as a result of the natural reasons listed below.

Engine Heat Condensation

If you reside in a place with a chilly climate, or it’s the cold season, you may anticipate seeing water dripping out your exhaust. Typically, your engine’s components require a little time to allow the oil to flow through it and cool it properly.

Meanwhile, the engine’s working components will create significant heat during the initial few moments of operation. Additionally, the exhaust system will be particularly heated.

As a result of the heat combining with the cold air, water vapor is created. Then you’ll notice water droplets and a small amount of what looks to be whitish smoke coming from the exhaust. The car exhaust should be cleared off with these elements after a couple of minutes of running.

Water Condensation

Once you start your engine, a combination of water and carbon dioxide is produced during the internal combustion process. Whenever the engine has thoroughly cooled down and the exhaust gases have exited the engine’s combustion chamber, carbon dioxide and water condensation are much more noticeable.

At this point, you may detect water droplets out of your exhaust pipe. This is very normal, and you don’t need to worry or take your vehicle to a specialist.

Catalytic Converter Is Functioning Correctly

The catalytic converter is critical to the exhaust system of your car. It dilutes harmful gases as they exit the exhaust. Consequently, these exhaust gases leave a lower negative impact on the environment.

However, during the process of reducing and turning harmful emissions into a normal byproduct, trace amounts of water vapor may occur. These vapors condense into tiny droplets that escape via the exhaust. Similarly, these water droplets are quite typical; there is no need to raise concerns.

Severe Causes

After discussing the typical causes of water from the exhaust pipe, let’s move on with the abnormal or severe reasons for this occurrence. Examine each list below to understand if your exhaust drippings are normal, or you may need to hit the auto repair shop for consultation.

Blown Cylinder Head Gasket

Occasionally, these water droplets emanate out your exhaust pipe, resulting from a blown head gasket. This is a sign of a malfunction. You might need to repair a few parts in this situation.

It is straightforward to distinguish this issue from normal sources of water droplet development. White smoke is emitted from the exhaust by a blown head gasket. Additionally, you will notice air bubbles in your coolant reservoir tank.

Regular overheating is another significant indicator of head gasket failure. A blown head gasket is one condition that demands immediate attention. Failing to do so might end up in further damage. Engine breakdown, for example, is a direct outcome of overheating. As a consequence, it is essential to consult a mechanic immediately upon seeing any of the mentioned indicators.

Damaged Piston Rings

It might be pretty destructive if faulty piston rings cause water to seep out your exhaust. If your piston rings are to blame, you’ll notice white smoke coming out of the exhaust in combination with the water.

If your case is severe, the cabin will be filled with a burning smell. Either that, or it could be a sweet odor indicative of a more severe condition.

Therefore, do not run or even attempt to run your car whenever you notice any weird scents coming out of your exhaust and water together with white smoke. Towing it to your trusted auto repair shop will determine that the problem is with your piston rings and replace them if required.

Faulty EGR Cooler

New automobile engines, particularly diesel car engines, utilize an EGR cooler that cools down the exhaust gasses as they reach the intake. Coolant is used to cool all exhaust fumes, and this component is prone to cracking. Coolant may seep into your exhaust pipe when your EGR cooler fractures and flow out your tailpipe.

When the water from the exhaust has somewhat a sweet scent, it’s almost certainly the result of a malfunctioning EGR cooler.

What To Do If You Suspect A Severe Issue

Suppose you discover that your automobile is spewing an extraordinary quantity of water on a chilly day. Yet, you have correctly warmed up your car and feel that anything is wrong with your automobile. In that case, you must not delay bringing it to the nearest auto repair shop for a checkup.

As we’ve often said, your vehicle’s engine is critical, hence why you must never disregard any possible issues with it. A mechanic would be able to reach underneath your vehicle and inspect the exhaust system for you. They will advise you on whether you must get the damage fixed right away or you can keep running your car normally.

Cost To Fix Water From The Exhaust Issue

Replacing your pistons, piston rings, head gasket, or EGR cooler is a complex procedure that is best left to a competent mechanic. If done poorly, it might result in lasting engine damage. These components must be carefully and adequately installed into their designated positions to avoid further issues. Below are the estimated prices for each fix or replacement. However, these prices vary depending on your car’s make and model, location, and shop.

Piston Rings

Piston rings run around $30 up to $150, while labor is significantly costlier. It takes around half to whole day task, and skilled techs often charge about $100 up to $200 per hour. The total cost of the work might range from $1200 up to $2300.

Head Gasket

The typical overall cost of head gasket replacement can be around $1000 up to $2000, relying on the sophistication of your engine and the labor rate at the repair facility. Additionally, you will commonly need roughly $150 to replace the oil and coolant in your vehicle since the engine will be emptied throughout the operation.

EGR Cooler

Depending on the application, a new EGR cooler would cost around $270 up to $3700. The upper end of the range is often reserved for customized or high-power and performance engines; therefore, you’re likely to be dealing at the lower section of the price range for a passenger vehicle.


We hope that since you already understand what type of water from the exhaust is dangerous and what isn’t, you can now go about your day and journey with confidence. However, if you observe excessive water with smoke flowing from your tailpipe, you might be alarmed. In this case, get your car inspected promptly by an experienced mechanic, who will thoroughly evaluate your vehicle before allowing you to return to the roads safely.


How long does exhaust condensation last?

In most cars, an estimated 20 minutes of constant running should be sufficient to clear any condensation in your car’s exhaust.

What causes exhaust condensation?

Whenever your engine undergoes an internal combustion process, various contaminants are produced. Water vapor, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen are the three primary contaminants. The longer your engine cools, the better noticeable the water condensation in the exhaust appears externally.

What problems can condensation cause in engine exhaust systems?

Short trips regularly allow water vapor to accumulate in your exhaust system, and it never reaches a temperature high enough to evaporate off. Eventually, this condensation can rust and degrade the interior of your exhaust system. Also, if left unchecked, the salt from snowy regions may cause corrosion.

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