White Exhaust smoke on starting after the car has been idle for several days on 2003 Saab 9-5

On ignition there is a large (sometimes) burst of white exhaust but not always and only after the car has been idle for say 4 or 5 days. What is the problem and is it worth repairing or is it time for a new car?

by in Charlestown, MA on June 15, 2010
2 answers 1 comment
ANSWER by on June 16, 2010
It is possible that the head gasket is starting to go bad. Have you noticed if your coolant level is low or looks murky? In my opinion, even if it needs a head gasket replacement it is still worth fixing. A properly maintained Saab can last a long time. I have seen 9-5s with well over 200,000 miles still doing well. I have even seen one with 395,000 miles.
COMMENT by on June 16, 2010
There's also a fair chance it's the Turbo. I'm more familiar with Turbo issues on the 9-3, so that may not be a "common" issue on an '03 9-5, but something to consider as a puff of white smoke on start up is traditionally indicative of turbo seals going out.
ANSWER by on July 02, 2010
Check your turbo!!! The white is most likely anti-freeze that's getting into the cylinders...that usually indicates 1) head gasket/cracked head or 2)Turbo problems (if so equipped). I have experienced both...Yay!

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