Weird white smoke when first start

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I have a 1992 Corolla and lately I notice it puffs white smoke in the morning. The white smoke last only the first second of starting and goes away. There is no smell or leak that cause dripping (all cars leak someone somewhile.) Gas mileage is still in the mid to high 30s and everything is fine. I wonder if it is a sign to change the oil. I think the oil is due in a few hundreds miles or so but I just topped it off with fresh quart M1. This only occurs if the cars sits overnight or not driven for a few days. It doesn't occurs even if I let it sits for 5 hours while shopping.
 
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M1Accord

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Cool. I love this car and want it to last for a long time. My mistake of not topping the oil off earlier as my usual routine is to give it 1/4 of a quart every 1500 miles. Will the condesation cause internal rust to my exhaust system? The underbody is full coated with very thick protective paint. Except for the door handles, blower motor, starter motor, and alternator, everything on the car is still original. The brake pads are still oringal even after almost 100k miles since I am very easy on brakes. ATF is changed every 20k, brake fluid every 30k miles, and oil every 6k miles with full synthetic 5W20 or 5W30.
 
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M1Accord

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 Originally Posted By: Steve S
Why top off your oil when an oil change is due in a few hundred miles?
Because I don't like driving with low oil. Most wear happens during start-up and being low on oil really make mater worse. In addition, this is a very tiny engine with not much oil capacity; therefore, I prefer driving it with full capacity. It is just me and I know a lot of people don't mind driving a quart low, even for ATF, and still have great years and miles out of their vehicle; however, oil is very cheap and I prefer knowing that I am doing the best I can to protect my car. It is a Toyota so doing my part is much more important as the car was build to last. This is a great commuter vehicle that can be driven to DC and not worry about dings, scratches, or being theft. Its gas mileage rivial some hybrid vehicles out there. I probably extend the oil change to another 1k miles now that it has fresh oil. A good thing about using synthetic is that it can last a much longer interval and is much more forgiving.
 
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 Originally Posted By: M1Accord
Will the condesation cause internal rust to my exhaust system
Yes, eventually all exhaust systems rust through -- unless they are made from rust-free stainless steel. My car's OEM exhaust is still in good shape after more than 180k miles over the past 13 years. The white stuff you notice coming out of the tailpipe is water vapor.
 
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Pottstown, PA
Hmm..I don't get water vapor immediately upon startup. His sounds like a new event. I would have said valve seals. They often don't produce blue smoke.
 
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We should find out if "the first second of starting" is literally the first second after starting up the engine, or if it's 30 seconds later. If it happens literally for only a moment after the engine starts up, then it could be oil that has leaked past the valve stem seals.
 
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M1, I do like your theory to go ahead and top it off even though you are coming up on an oil change. Are you the original owner and how many miles on the car? One last Q? what brand synth. oil are you using? Does that brand offer a 'High Mileage' version?
 
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Sunny Calif
At this time of the year in DC, he's probably seeing low temps in the mid 60s, which is not cold enough for water vapor to condense. I think it's something else
 
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A 92 Corolla only hold 3L (3.2qt) of oil, so if one waits until it's a quart low, you've lost 30% of your oil. I tend to top off at the 1/2 quart low mark. If the engine is cold burning oil can look white/grey. My lawnmower does this, and since it's air cooled, I don't think it's a coolant leak. An engine first starting may have unburnt fuel and oil pooling, and it's not going to burn completely when it first starts. Therefore, you may see white/grey smoke on that first cold start of the day.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Gary Allan
Hmm..I don't get water vapor immediately upon startup. His sounds like a new event. I would have said valve seals. They often don't produce blue smoke.
My vote would be for valve stem seals. I had and s10 that would do that. It would also blow a little puff between high rpm shifts (manual trans) when the manifold vacuum would spike.
 
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 Originally Posted By: M1Accord
Cool. Will the condesation cause internal rust to my exhaust system?
The condensation will shorten the exhaust systems life if the car is only driven for short hops. If it is run long enough to boil the moisture out of the exhaust system there will be no problems. Looking at your maint schedule it looks like the car is well cared for. To void out the possibility of a head gasket leak have the system pressure checked.
 
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