Pinoy Driver

Smoky Exhaust: Types, Causes and Fines

Smoky exhaust or popularly known as smoke belching in the Philippines is a type road violation. Smoke belching has always been scrutinized in the country not only because it causes air pollution (according to a study, almost 65% of pollution is coming from smoke belching), but also it now contributes to some road accidents. Also, emission of smoky exhaust causes a lot of health diseases mainly on respiratory system and later on can translate into cancer. This is why emission test is part of vehicle registration renewal; to determine if the vehicle is creating harmful level of smoky exhaust or not.  Another goal of emissions testing is to cut down smoke pollution that are harmful to all living things, with particular focus on improving air quality.


Emission test


Emissions testing checks the levels of hazardous materials that escape from a motor vehicle with a combustion engine.  The government has prescribed that gasoline-fueled vehicles should not emit more than 3.5 percent CO (by volume) and 600ppm (particles per minute) HC to be given a certificate of emissions compliance. Diesel-powered vehicles must not exceed 2.5K for natural aspirated engines and 3.5K for turbocharged diesel engines. Motorcycles must meet a 4.5 percent CO standard, while the HC limits have not been set.


What does the color of your exhaust mean?


Passing the emission testing doesn’t really depends on how thin or thick you smoke is, instead it looks at how dangerously polluted the fumes are on the smoke. The typical color of vehicle smoke is white but there are other smoke colors that you should be aware of. You can also identify the problem in your car by just using the colors listed below.


Smoke ColorCauses
White and thick
  • Overheated engine
  • Blown head gasket
  • Cracked engine block
  • Burnt engine
  • Clogged air filter
  • Fault in the sensors, fuel injectors, fuel pressure regulator
  • Bad turbo charger
  • Problem with transmission fluid
  • Faulty transmission vacuum modulator
  • Burning oil
  • Oil leak in the combustion chamber

Fines and penalties for smoke belching

There are a lot of cases in which a vehicle passes initial emission testing, but later on be arrested for smoke belching since smoke emission changes through out the use of the vehicle. If you will be unluckily accused of smoke belching on the road,  do not be scared right away. Before surrendering your plate to the traffic officer, an on the spot test will be done first. A device called opacimeter will be used to examine the vehicle’s exhaust.  If the vehicle fails the test, you need to surrender your license plate to the officer. All confiscated plates will be turned over to the Land Transportation Office (LTO). To get  your plate back,  you must first obtain an Emissions Clearance certificate (just like in the initial registration) from an LTO-accredited testing center. To do this, go to LTO and present the Emission Clearance certificate and then pay the appropriate fine for the violation. Fines are as follows:

  • First offense – Php 1,000.00
  • Second offense – Php 3,000.00
  • Third offense – Php 5,000 plus a seminar on pollution management


Carlos is a digital marketing and lead generation expert who has helped advocate driver education websites since 2012.

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Posted in Advice, Car, Truck

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