In the know: Is it normal to see water come out of your exhaust pipe?


The first thing that comes to mind when we see an exhaust pipe is smoke. That’s because this is the exit point of the gaseous byproduct created by the internal combustion engine that powers vehicles.


  • What are the normal causes of water in your exhaust pipe?

    Normal causes of water issuing from the exhaust include combustion and water condensation, a catalytic converter byproduct, or engine heat.
  • What are the unusual causes of water in your exhaust pipe?

    Unusual causes of water in the tailpipe include faulty head gaskets and bad pistons.
  • But what if you see water come out of your pipes? Is it normal? What does it mean?

    2022 GAC GS8

    1. Combustion and water condensation

    An internal combustion engine, as the name suggests, uses combustion to power a vehicle. As the process of combustion takes place, a mixture of carbon dioxide and water is formed. The condensed water will come out of the tailpipe and will become more visible as the engine cools down.

    2. Catalytic converter

    The purpose of catalytic converters is to reduce or lower the amount of toxic gas emitted by a vehicle. A catalytic converter converts exhaust gases into less-toxic pollutants by catalyzing a redox reaction. During the conversion process, water vapor can be produced. And as a result, you might see drops of water falling from your exhaust pipes.

    3. Engine heat

    Your engine produces heat and so does the exhaust system. If you happen to live in an area with a cold climate, the heat from the engine and the exhaust pipe will mix with the cold air and create moisture. When this happens, water vapor will form and droplets may start to come out of the tailpipe.

    4. Engine problem

    Water may also come out of the exhaust pipes should your engine encounter a problem. If so, you would notice that it is typically accompanied by a burnt smell, a sweet aroma, and some overheating issues.

    In this case, the problem could be a faulty head gasket or a bad piston.

    Photos from GAC and Mini

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