What is smoke-belching and how to avoid it

If you have ever come across an old truck or old Jeepney chances are you will have encountered an instance where they emit thick black smoke from their exhaust pipe when accelerating. This is smoke-belching, it’s a forceful expulsion of smoke from a vehicle that may have a mechanical issue with the engine often seen in diesel vehicles. While diesel motors are often the prime offenders to smoke-belching, gasoline engines can also do the same. With that said, here is a guide to help you avoid it.

car smoke belching

Smoke-belching can be caused by several reasons that differ from case to case. However, the main and general reason why this happens is that the fuel engine doesn’t completely combust or too much of it is present in the motor for it to fully combust, which results in thick black smoke. To sum it up, it is caused by an imbalance when it comes to your car’s fuel to air mixture. 

One way to quickly solve this problem if it isn’t mechanically related is to check your car’s air filters. If the filters are clogged and there is not enough air that is passing through it, your engine’s fuel to air ratio will be imbalanced, thus leading it to run rich and incompletely burn fuel. 

Aside from this, another possible cause is that your car has a faulty fuel pressure regulator leading to more fuel being sent to the engine than what is needed. It could also be a leaking fuel injector, a faulty fuel ratio sensor, an issue with the airflow sensor, and other things that relate to the combustion of fuel in the motor.

car smoke belching

Rules and other legalities about smoke-belching can be found under the Republic Act No. 8749 or the Philippines Clean Air Act. the Act covers a comprehensive air quality management policy and program that aims to maintain healthy and clean air in the country. Smoke-belching is a violation of RA 8749 because the act itself emits excessive harmful fuels into the air. 

If you are found to violate this by the MMDA through their mobile smoke testers you will be fined P2,000 to P6,000 depending if it’s the first or third time you committed the violation. The MMDA may also even confiscate the license plate of your vehicle if you are found guilty. It is important to note that the enforcers who run these tests will need to adhere to strict guidelines to regulate the testing. A receipt will be given to violators containing the test results as well as flyers that contain the penalties with the next steps for smoke-belching violators.

engine bay shot

As mentioned earlier, smoke-belching can be caused by a number of factors, one of these is poor vehicle maintenance. With that said, it is important to keep up with your vehicle’s maintenance, whether it be a small hatchback, a sedan, a pickup truck, an SUV, or a commercial vehicle. Make sure that all the filters are clean, the gaskets are still functioning, the fuel injectors are working properly, and that the turbocharger is in excellent condition. However, aside from these are other proactive steps you can take in order to make sure your vehicle doesn’t smoke belch.

engine oil

Use a clean, high-quality oil

One way to stop smoke belching from occurring in your vehicle is to use high-quality and clean oil. It is the job of the oil to keep everything inside your engine lubricated so that they don’t prematurely wear out. Make sure that you also don’t overfill your oil, as it may lead to a leak or allow liquid to spill and seep into other systems that it’s not supposed to be in. when this happens, excessive amounts of oil are going to be used which can result in additional emissions. 

Smooth and proper driving

Another way to make sure your car doesn’t start spitting out black smoke especially if it is diesel-powered is to observe a smooth and proper driving style. Stepping too hard on the accelerator or the brakes makes the systems in your vehicle work much harder than they normally would. This ultimately leads to premature wear and tear down the line especially if you push these components past their limits. Other poor driving habits such as speeding, idling, and carrying more than what your car can handle can also cause unwanted strain on your vehicle. While these aren’t exactly direct cases for smoke-belching, they can ultimately lead to it as they cause undue wear and tear to your vehicle’s internal parts. 

emission testing

Emission testing

While this is something that is done on a yearly basis, it is still something that you should pay attention to in the event that your vehicle fails its test. If your car fails it could be a sign that something is wrong with your engine and it’s on its way to becoming a smoke-belching machine. With that being said, take the results seriously and immediately have your vehicle inspected to see what is exactly wrong with it. It may not be emitting black smoke just yet but it could already be polluting more than it should which violates the Philippine clean air act. 

With that in mind, keeping up with your vehicle’s maintenance schedule, replacing the filters with new ones, and making sure that you use the right kind of clean oil will ensure that your vehicle doesn’t become a smoke belcher in the future. 

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