Smoke rising from the engine of your car signals a problem that needs to be addressed quickly. A smoking and overheated engine should be shut off and allowed to cool before the cause can be determined.
Many factors can cause an engine to overheat and smoke. Some common causes include lack of coolant, cracked radiator hoses, a faulty thermostat, a broken fan belt or a failed water pump.
Check your coolant level and replace as needed. Manufacturers recommend a 50/50 combination between coolant and water. Radiator hoses should be replaced if cracked or worn. You can manually test your thermostat by dangling it in a pan of water on the stove. If the problem is a malfunctioning water pump or fan belt, these parts should be replaced by a qualified mechanic.
The best way to prevent an overheated, smoking engine is to perform regular service checks on the engine. Replace worn or brittle hoses before they crack. Keep coolant fluids topped off, especially during extreme temperatures. Keeping your engine clean of grease and grime will also help to prevent a smoking engine.