Water Coming Out Of The Exhaust: How To Find And Repair

Water coming out of the exhaust can be a concerning issue for vehicle owners. This phenomenon can occur in various engine types, including cars, trucks, and boats, and can be a sign of different underlying problems. 

While some instances of water coming out of the exhaust may not require immediate attention, others may indicate serious issues that must be addressed promptly. 

In this article, we will explore the possible causes of water coming out of the exhaust, the implications of this problem, and what steps you can take to resolve it.

How Does The Exhaust System Work

How Does The Exhaust System Work?

No car model comes out without a complicated exhaust system. Because of the importance of this system, manufacturers are always looking for ways to add new features and complicate the operation process. But don’t worry too much because most exhaust systems operate according to a specific cycle as follows:

  • First, the exhaust will collect all the raw exhaust gas generated after igniting the gas and fuel mixture into a single line.
  • Then all gases will simultaneously move to a specialized unit to remove dangerous impurities. Catalytic converter will be the place to carry out this process as soon as the exhaust gas has just exited the exhaust pipe. Therefore, you will easily find the location of this part on all models if you can determine where the exhaust system is located.
  • Before escaping into the environment, the clean air moves through the silencers again to reduce the noise caused.

Is Water Running From My Car’s Exhaust Bad for My Car?

The presence of water inside the exhaust pipe can indicate that the vehicle is having some leakage-related problem.

So you need to take the car to a reputable center soon to conduct an inspection and determine where the fault occurs.

The condensation of water vapor in the exhaust gas creates a liquid right in the exhaust is entirely normal. However, this amount of water often has little chance of accumulating so much that you can see it.

That is why most cases where liquid appears in the exhaust pipe enough for us to recognize is related to some error in the vehicle’s operation. Of course, this phenomenon’s consequences will worsen if we intervene too late.

Where Does Water From Exhaust Coming From?

As mentioned above, water dripping from the exhaust may come from the standard exhaust of the vehicle. If the liquid is derived from the above process, you don’t need to worry too much because nothing unusual will happen.

However, if you find that the water coming out of the exhaust system has an odor or color, there is a high chance of a leak inside the vehicle.

Many different types of solutions can enter this mechanism through fractures. Therefore, you need to understand the characteristics of each substance to recognize the origin and cause of the above phenomenon.

Water Coming Out Of The Exhaust

5 Causes Of Water Coming Out Of The Exhaust

It is difficult to determine quickly the leading cause of the water coming out of the exhaust. Because there are many different factors from average to abnormal, that can lead to this phenomenon. 

However, some issues are more likely to appear that you should focus on if you want to save time and effort.

Coolant enters the exhaust pipe.

Cooling water has the highest occurrence rate among the solutions likely to leak into the exhaust system. Because this liquid has a relatively low evaporation point and is very easy to vaporize if the system temperature is high, the combustion chamber will suck in cooling water. 

Finally, this substance will be present in the exhaust pipe after condensing.

In addition, the coolant blows out of the reservoir due to various causes will also result in leakage of this type of solution into the exhaust system.

System overheat 

As part of the vehicle and made of metal that conducts heat, if the vehicle’s internal system overheats, the exhaust will also experience an increase in temperature.

At this point, steam will appear due to the difference between the temperature inside the exhaust pipe and the outside environment. After a while, the condensation process will start and produce liquid water. If you are moving in cold areas, there will be much water in the exhaust pipe.

If this problem occurs, it is possible that the fault is not from the exhaust system but from the mechanisms inside the engine or a lack of coolant. However, you must pay attention and soon bring the vehicle to the centers for inspection.

Changes in Catalytic Converter

Changes in Catalytic Converter

Some Catalytic Converters will make many apparent changes in the composition of the exhaust gas, one of which is turning toxic gases into steam. This process creates condensate and gradually turns into a liquid that settles in the exhaust.

Head Gasket Failure

The damaged head gasket is also one of the common causes of the appearance of liquid inside the exhaust pipe. Because this part has the role of preventing external agents from entering the engine. 

So when there is no upper protective layer, the solution can easily fall into the system and move to the exhaust pipe.

In addition, this phenomenon also produces a large amount of white smoke. The color of this gas mixture will be darker than regular car smoke’s. So it can be easily seen even with the naked eye.

You need to immediately bring the vehicle to the nearest repair facility if both conditions are detected simultaneously. Because not only does it cause water leaks or smoke, but a damaged head gasket also brings many other risks.

Defective EGR cooler

Defective EGR cooler

Check the EGR cooler if your vehicle is using this specific cooling mechanism. Because the damage to the above part is also likely to lead to the accumulation of solution in the exhaust pipe.

Problems such as cracks in the intake or holes in the cover are the leading cause of leaks. Currently, the connection ports between this cooling mechanism and the system will no longer be as tight as the original design. 

And the result causes a large amount of coolant to overflow inside the system.

What To Do If You Suspect Water Coming Out of the Exhaust

In case of water coming out of the exhaust, you first need to try to get the vehicle to the nearest repair station.

Unlike other problems, the appearance of fluid is often closely related to the engine. And, of course, any incident that affects this vital mechanism will have serious consequences. In some cases, errors can even threaten your safety nd others.

Although the cause of this phenomenon may be just normal condensation, we still need to conduct rigorous testing steps. Because in addition to providing peace of mind, these actions help us prevent more severe incidents early.

Cost To Fix Water From The Exhaust Issue

Most of the problems are related to the water coming out of the exhaust manifold.

Usually, this number will range from $1000 to $3800, depending on the location of the error. However, a handful of parts will cost you less than $150 to repair or replace.

Piston ring

If problems occur in this location, you are likely lucky that you do not need to spend much money to repair it. Specifically, the cost per piston ring will usually be $ 150 or less. 

Yet, if the vehicle has a complex structure, we will have to bear many labor costs. The total amount to spend at this time can increase to more than $ 2000.

Head Gasket

Regarding problems with Head Gasket, it will cost us $ 1000 or more. In addition, the repair process will also require an additional $ 150 to $ 200 cost for adding oil and coolant.


Usually, it is necessary to replace the EGR if this part appears damaged completely. Because the repair is almost impossible or too expensive compared to when we choose the option of completely replacing.

Depending on the system, the operating cost will also vary from $ 250 to $ 4000.

With the regular car model, this number will be $ 2000 or less. The rest of the high-performance options will often cost over $3000 to replace the EGR.

Is it normal for oil to leak from the exhaust?

Whether it’s oil or water, leakage of these solutions into the exhaust system is a sign of damage. In other words, your vehicle needs to be fixed.

Continuing to move with a full exhaust is as dangerous as driving with broken wheel studs. These conditions need to be corrected and rectified as soon as possible.


Can too much water come out the exhaust?

The amount of water from the exhaust is usually not much, but if you can detect it with the naked eye, the system is having problems.

Can you drive with exhaust underwater?

The answer is not. If you move on terrain with a water surface higher than the exhaust pipe, water damage is easy, causing severe damage to the vehicle.

What happens when a car goes into the water?

Water entering the car will also cause many serious problems, such as damaging the spark plugs making the vehicle unable to start, or diluting the oil and causing severe damage.

Does car exhaust cause water pollution?

Waste from untreated exhaust pipes will undoubtedly cause severe pollution to the environment. But fortunately, filters have helped us somewhat limit this phenomenon. In addition, leaking liquids can also be the cause.

What percentage of car exhaust is water?

According to scientists, this number falls to about 13%.


Water coming out of the exhaust can be a normal phenomenon but also a sign of severe damage. So you should not ignore any signs but consider carefully and combine them with the use of the knowledge that I have mentioned to get the correct judgments.

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