Honestly, it can be scary to find out that rather than smoke, you have water coming out of your exhaust. But, is this a cause for alarm?

A car is designed with an exhaust system that allows exhaust gasses emitted during its combustion process to be passed into the atmosphere. It would be dangerous if these exhaust gasses don’t have a way of leaving the car’s engine, this is why cars have exhaust systems opening up to the tailpipe through which the gasses escape into the atmosphere. In some instances, in addition to these gasses, water also gets released from the exhaust.

You don’t have to panic when this happens. In most cases, the water comes out as a byproduct of normal processes within a car in good condition. However, on rare occasions, it could be a harbinger of serious problems in your car. Here are common reasons why water comes out from your car exhaust:


Condensation is a normal process that happens in the internal combustion engine of your car after it has worked for a long day or just ‘warming up. The three main pollutants are water vapour, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. There is often a resultant mixture of carbon dioxide and water. After a while of cooling down the vehicle, some exhaust gasses eventually pass out through the tailpipe. This condensation process results in dripping water that is usually seen coming out of the car’s exhaust.


The catalytic converter is an important component of the exhaust system of a car. The catalytic converter is saddled with the responsibility of reducing the number of harmful gasses such as toxic carbon gasses released through the tailpipe. In the process of performing their function, the catalytic converter can lead to the release of small drops of water through the tailpipe.


If you live in cold regions or environments, it will not be unusual to see small drops of water coming out from your car’s exhaust. Engine heat is one of the commonest reasons why water is released through the tailpipe. During cold seasons, the engine and other components of your car will generate more heat to stay functional, especially when you just start your vehicle after parking it for a while. When you just start your car, it takes a while for the engine oil to flow and lubricate the engine parts. But, while the engine is hot, the exhaust system is hot as well. So, the water you see in your tailpipe is simply water vapour resulting from the combination of heat coming from the engine and the cold air from your environment. If you leave your engine running for a short while, you will observe that all the water will dry off.

  1. HUMAN

It might surprise you to note that human beings can be a potential cause of water coming out of your exhaust. Human beings in this case refer to small children or toddlers. Kids can unknowingly pump water into your tailpipe when they play around and catch fun. If you know you have kids who play around in your neighbourhood, you might have to caution them about this. Keep away water hoses from the reach of these kids as well.


The faulty piston is an abnormal cause of water coming out of your exhaust. In this case, there is truly a cause for alarm as your car’s piston should be in good working condition. When you have a faulty piston, you won’t only have water coming out of your tailpipe. There would also be thick fumes (smoke) in addition to a burning smell coming from the cabin of your car. When you observe these signs, it is risky to keep driving the car. Simply park at a safe spot, and contact your mechanic to come to help you out.


A faulty head gasket is another abnormal cause of water coming out from your exhaust. Other signs of a blown head gasket are thick white smoke coming out of the exhaust and overheating of the engine. When this happens, it is recommended you reach out to your mechanic for help as soon as possible.


Water coming out from a car’s exhaust system is not an unusual thing. However, depending on the cause and environment, it could be a cause for alarm. Reach out to your mechanic if you suspect anything wrong with your car. 

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