Vacuum leaks in cars are very regular. It can be pretty annoying if you cannot detect where the leak is. Yes, you can always take your vehicle to the mechanic and have them check for problems. But not everyone is so fond of taking a trip to the workshop every time their car works up. Are you worried about the EVAP leak in your car? Check out this list to find your ideal smoke machine for cars to run a test!
To cut those visits to the mechanic short, you need proper tools and expertise to run some checks at home. You need the equipment to help you detect the issue under the hood of your car. A car smoke machine is essential to detect vacuum leaks in any vehicle.
You will have to take the car to the workshop without a smoke machine to check the EVAP leak. But the problem may not be so severe. That is why you should have your vacuum leakage checker. Once you measure the severity of the problem, then you can decide if it is worth it to take a trip to the mechanic.
We have reviewed some of the best smoke machines for cars you can find in the market. You will also find a buying guide and all you need to know about smoke machines for cars. Check out our list below to find the perfect smoke machine for cars.
- EVAP Smoke Machine
- Car Smoke Machine Function
- Symptoms of An EVAP Leak
- Best Smoke Machines for Car
- Buying Guide
What Is An EVAP Smoke Machine For Cars
The EVAP system is installed in a car’s engine to prevent fuel vapors from leaking from the fuel system and seeping out of your car. If there is any leak, it will not be easy to find since there are many possibilities.
The leak can occur anywhere inside the EVAP system, including the purge valve, hose, fuel tank, and canister. That is when an EVAP smoke machine comes in handy.
An EVAP smoke machine is a machine that blows smoke inside the car. With the help of that smoke, you can identify where the leak is. The smoke will show you exactly which components to check. So, you will not have to do a complete checkup of the car.
How Does A Car Smoke Machine Work
When you think about a leak in the car, it is not just the fuel you should be worried about. Vacuum leaks are also worrying when checked properly. A vacuum leak is one of the many reasons for a check engine light to flash.
A smoke test is one of the most effective techniques to specify whether a car has too much pressure in the EVAP system. It can also help detect if any components inside the vehicle are leaking. A car smoke test is performed by technicians to detect any leaks in the automobile’s hollow sections. It can be the intake manifold, the EVAP system, or the exhaust system.
Using a car smoke machine is very easy. All you need to do is simply blow smoke into the different components of the system to check whether they are leaking.
What do you do when you are trying to find a leak in a big bucket? You fill it with water and see where the water is leaking from. A car smoke test is just the same. Instead of water, you use smoke to check for leaks in the car’s components.
EVAP smoke testing efficiently pinpoints the problem when there is a leak in the vacuum system of your car. The process might seem simple, but it can cost a lot if you get a smoke test done by a professional mechanic. So, having your smoke machine at home is better than rushing to the mechanic.
What Are the Symptoms Of An EVAP Leak
1. Check Engine Light
The first sign of any problem with a car is the flashing of the check engine light. The check engine light is not the most reliable way to detect an issue. There are way too many possibilities for a check engine light to flash.
But an EVAP leak is one of these reasons. So, look out for the check engine light. Get a diagnostic tool scanner to read the trouble code. Then you can figure out whether there is a vacuum leak or not.
2. Fuel Odor
A glaring symptom of an EVAP leak can be the unwanted smell of fuel. If you can smell the fuel when you turn the car ignition, there is a high possibility of EVAP leakage. The energy in your car may be liquid, but it does transform into a gas form.
When there is a leak inside your car, it is common for that evaporated gas to leak. The smell of unmistakable fuel is enough to indicate that there is a leak in the EVAP system. If you can smell the fuel, it is better to get your vehicle checked right away.
3. Increased Fuel Consumption
If your EVAP system has gaps, fuel vapors will slowly leak out of your car’s fuel system. For the most part, the fuel vapor leaks are minuscule at a time, as it’s mostly leaking molecules. But over time, these vapors and molecules will add up to become significant enough to impact your car’s MPG.
As a result, you will notice higher fuel consumption. That will lead to a more frequent visit to the fuel pump and spending more money on gas than usual.
4. Issue With Ignition
Air can seep into the fuel system when there is any leak inside the engine. So, that can cause a delay or problem with starting the car. But an ignition issue does not always indicate a vacuum leak. Other components might be responsible for that. So, it is better to get a diagnosis of your car.
Why Do You Need A Smoke Machine For Cars
The check engine light on your car dashboard might tell you something is wrong with the car. But it will not tell you what is wrong. Without proper diagnostics, it is impossible to pinpoint the issue causing the check engine light to flash.
A vacuum leak inside the car is a common problem. If it is a small leak, you might not even notice it. But letting it fester can result in something disastrous. Car owners often neglect minor signs at times. They do not want to deal with the hassle of going to the workshop and finding out it is nothing.
That is why self-diagnosis is essential. And for a proper vacuum leak check, you need an excellent car smoke machine. A vacuum leak check by professional costs you more than some of the affordable smoke machines on the market. So, it is clear that buying a smoke machine is worth it.
Best Smoke Machine For Cars
There are too many car smoke machines to confuse you. So, we’re here to ease your task of browsing through tons of smoke machines. Below are some of the best smoke machines for cars one can hope to get.
AutoLine Pro EVAP Smoke Machine
Product: AutoLine Pro EVAP Smoke Machine
The AutoLine Pro is an excellent pick for a smoke machine. This smoke machine can win over your heart with its first impression. The kit is neatly arranged, and the packaging is professional. You have everything you might need from a smoke machine right in the package.
So, it has a sleek and simple design. Anyone can use the machine on their first try. There is a 1PSI air regulator included in the AutoLine Pro. This sort of regulator is excellent for keeping the device in check. There will be less risk of malfunctioning thanks to the air regulator.
The AutoLine Pro EVAP smoke machine is an excellent tool at an affordable price. Anyone with a home workshop can buy it for running checks at home. You cannot go wrong with this DIY smoke machine for cars.
- Affordable pricing
- Easy to use
- Takes up little space
- Air regulator included
- No EVAP port adaptor
- Fitting caps are not ideal
Smoke-Tek EVAP Smoke Machine
Product: Smoke-Tek EVAP Smoke Machine
There is no need to rush to the mechanic for a vacuum leak check when you have one of the best car smoke machines. A workshop visit will cost you around $200 or maybe more (depending on the labor cost).
The Smoke-Tek may be a cheap smoke machine for cars, but it is not an incompetent one. The Smoke-Tek EVAP Smoke Machine detects vacuum leaks by following a few easy steps. Smoke-Tek also has an instruction manual with the kit so you can use the unit immediately.
The build quality of the Smoke-Tek smoke machine is top-notch. You will not have to worry about this machine’s durability.
This smoke machine uses mineral oil to generate the necessary smoke. Mineral oil is much easier to find than other exclusive smoke machine fluids. It is a suitable smoke machine to check for EVAP leaks in a car.
- Great build quality
- Uses mineral oil in the machine
- Value-for-money product
- The machine generates a large amount of smoke
- A little bulky
- Difficult to handle
Mr. CarTool T130 EVAP Smoke Machine
Product: Mr. CarTool T130 EVAP Smoke Machine
The T130 smoke machine from Mr. CarTool is probably not the cheapest product you will come across. But do not let that deter you since this effectively detects vacuum leaks. The overall design of this machine is slightly different. This machine has a more professional outlook to it.
You will feel like you are running a vacuum check at a workshop if you use the Mr. CarTool T130. The machine can find leaks in not just the EVAP system but the exhaust system, engine crankcase, and turbo leaks.
This smoke machine features an air mode as well as a smoke mode. After switching it on for ten seconds, you will see smoke emitting from the machine. The temperature control system inside the device will turn off if the temperature goes over 175F. So, there is no risk of overheating.
- Auto shut-off at 175F temperature
- Durable build quality
- Multiple adapters help connect with different hoses and pipes
- Air mode and smoke mode included
- Quite expensive
RhinoTuning Automotive Smoke Machine
Product: RhinoTuning Automotive Smoke Machine
The RhinoTuning Automotive Smoke Machine comes with some extra accessories, which make it a great choice. The machine has three different nozzles, so you attach it to any hose or pipeline for a test.
There’s no need for an additional compressor when using this smoke machine since one is built right in. But there is no smoke oil included with the device. And the output flow of the smoke cannot be controlled.
Still, the adaptability of the RhinoTuning Smoke Machine is enough to overlook the other minor drawbacks.
- Built-in compressor
- Easy to use
- Made for different kinds of leakage tests
- Compact and lightweight design
- No smoke oil included
- Output flow cannot be controlled
Stinger Smoke Machine
Product: Stinger Smoke Machine
The Stinger Smoke Machine is made out of heavy-duty aluminum. So, you should expect only the best regarding the overall build quality. It is a piece of handmade equipment made with the user’s ease in mind.
You can use mineral oil to use the machine. There is no need for special smoke fluid to operate the machine. The machine comes with a 12-feet long cord and a 6-feet long hose. With them, you can focus on the deeper parts of your car to find the precise spot of the leak.
There is a pressure regulator included. You can control the smoke output of this machine as needed. The power cord might get in the way since it is not detachable. But such minor setbacks are okay since the other features are too great to let pass.
- Highly durable
- A lot of accessories included
- Smoke flow control valve
- Great smoke
- A separate air compressor needed
- A non-detachable power cord can be a hassle
Is It Safe To Drive A Car With An EVAP Leak
An EVAP leak will not seem dangerous at first. It does not affect the drivability of a car right away. With an EVAP leak, you can still drive around in your vehicle. But it is not what we would recommend.
A vacuum leak in the car may seem like a minor problem. But it can also lead to significant engine problems if left unchecked. If you don’t find out the root of the leaks, there’s no way of knowing the severity of the situation.
It is not wise to ignore a check engine light no matter how trivial the issue seems. Just take some time out of your schedule and make a quick diagnosis of the car. You can run some initial tests with the proper tools at home. For example, you can do a smoke test on your vehicle if you have a smoke machine.
Otherwise, you have to get your car looked over by a professional. With a self-diagnosis, you can understand the gravity of the problem. It will save you a lot of time and money if you know the issues in your car before visiting a mechanic.
1. Smoke Fluid In Machine
Any good smoke machine can have exclusive smoke fluid included in the package. The bottle you get may last you multiple times, but you will run out eventually. If it is some premium-level smoke fluid, it will cost you a lot to buy a new bottle.
So, using a machine compatible with normal fluids like baby oil or mineral oil is better.
2. Weight And Durability
The weight of a smoke machine is rather essential. The device needs to be handled by hand. You have to carry it over to your car every time you want to do a smoke test. So, if the machine is too heavy or bulky, it will be hard to move around.
So, you need a smoke machine that is lightweight and portable. As for durability, most car smoke machines from well-known brands have excellent build quality. They are made to last for several years.
Still, looking at the materials before buying a smoke machine is better. Take a look at the warranty provided by the manufacturer as well.
3. Ease Of Use
A smoke machine is pretty simple to operate. You might require extra tools to make the machine work. You can always look for tutorial videos or guidelines online.
Consider that certain manufacturers can void the warranty if an untrained user handles and destroys the machine.
4. Hose Diameter And Attachments
Not all smoke machines come with additional attachments or adapters. Check the diameter of your malfunctioning pipeline to that of the smoke machine you wish to buy. See that it is at least as significant, if not more expansive than the pipe you want to inspect.
5. Smoke Output
Smoke output is an essential factor when it comes to buying a smoke machine. EVAP smoke machines come with nozzles from where the smoke is discharged. The released smoke tells you where the leak is inside the car components.
But it is vital to have some control over the smoke output. Some machines do not have an adjustment for the smoke output. In that case, you will always be stuck with heavy and thick smoke output. It might not be the most effective in some instances.
So, looking for a smoke machine with a smoke output adjustment is better. Then you can adjust the thickness of the smoke release to detect the leaks with utmost accuracy.
A smoke machine for cars can cost anywhere between $50 and 1500. It all depends on the brand and features of the smoke machine. But no matter which product you go for, a smoke machine is a worthy investment.
With smoke machines, it is easy to keep an eye on the car’s vacuum system. If the EVAP system in your car malfunctions, the repair cost might be much higher than a smoke machine. An EVAP system repair will cost around $250-400, not to mention the labor cost.
So, it is better to stop contemplating whether to invest your money in buying a car smoke machine or not. Pick one according to your preferences and stay within your budget.
A car smoke machine allows you to assess any EVAP leak from the comfort of your home. Also, the next time you notice a problem with your car’s engine, you have your car smoke machine diagnose it.
After much research, we compiled this list of the best smoke machines for cars. We hope you can make an informed decision on the most delicate car smoke machine. As mentioned above, see that all the features meet your requirements when purchasing a smoke machine.
How To Make A Smoke Machine For Cars
You can make a smoke machine with materials such as a jar or can and some connected fittings. Do not forget the mineral oil/baby oil! You can use a do-it-yourself smoke machine to detect vacuum leaks in your car.
Where To Rent A Smoke Machine For Cars
You can find car smoke machines for rent if you think there is no need to buy one. Just look around in your neighborhood’s car workshops or auto repair shops. A lot of mechanics and repair shops offer smoke machines for rent.
What Is A Smoke Test For A Car
A smoke test for a car is also known as a smoke leak test. You can call it a vacuum leak test as well. A smoke test is when smoke is used in the internal components of a vehicle to find leaks.
How To Smoke Test The EVAP System
A smoke test is a simple process. Just use a smoke machine to blow smoke into the car EVAP system. Then you see where the smoke is releasing from. It can be any hose, valve, pipe, or other components. Once you see where the smoke is coming from, you know what is wrong with the EVAP system.
How To Find EVAP Leak
An EVAP smoke machine is linked to a car’s vacuum. The link is often made at the intake manifold where smoke is released. The smoke escapes from the leak, indicating the leak’s location.