Whitesburg KY
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy


This guy's a drip



Dear Tom and Ray:

A male friend of mine insists that liquid dripping from a tailpipe is always gasoline. He says that it means the engine isn’t burning fuel well and so it is coming out of the exhaust system. I always thought that was a sign of a cold exhaust system and that the water (a by-product of a combustion engine) that normally comes out as water vapor is just condensing on the cold exhaust pipe and running out as liquid water. I’ve never heard of gasoline coming out of a tailpipe before. Who is right? – Kimberly

RAY: You are. You’re exactly right, Kimberly.

TOM: You’re more likely to see water dripping out of the tailpipe just after a car starts in the morning, or during the winter. Those are times when the tailpipe is cold, and the vapor condenses.

RAY: Once the tailpipe heats up (assuming the ambient outside temperature is high enough to allow it to ever heat up), the water vapor passes right through it without condensing, and you don’t see it anymore.

TOM: If your boyfriend finds gasoline coming out his tailpipe, tell him to call Exxon. I’m sure they’ll be interested in leasing the rights to his car.

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Auto repairs can be costly! Save money by ordering Tom and Ray’s pamphlet “Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car Without Even Knowing It!” Send $4.75 (check or money order) to Ruin, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL32853-6475.

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Got a question about cars? Write to Click and Clack in care of this newspaper, or e-mail them by visiting the Car Talk Web site at www.cartalk.com.

(c) 2007 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi

and Doug Berman Distributed by King Features

Syndicate, Inc.

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