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New Diesel car - Need some advice please


Active Member
Hi all,

Diesel owner novice here, so need advice.

I recently bought a Volvo C30, 1.6 Diesel, and have been having little niggling doubts about it ever since.
My main concern at the moment is from a cold start, ie – first thing in the morning, when I start it up, there is a great plume of grey / blue smoke that envelopes the car for about 30 seconds. The engine is also a bit lumpy for a short while until, I guess the glow plugs warm up. I also notice an egg smell, but not all the time.
As soon as I have driven down the road a few hundred yards, the smoke clears, as does the smell, although I have noticed the odour appearing at random times when I do drive.

I got this car from a main Volvo dealer, and was advised that it had been serviced. However I checked the oil at the weekend and it was black so know that has not been changed in a while – I know servicing does not necessarily mean the oil will be changed, but I was quite surprised that they hadn’t done it.

I have a standard year warrenty with Volvo and have paide for an additional 2 years for a bit of piece of mind.

As I have only had the car for a couple of weeks, I am not keen to spend money getting the oil changed myself if that is the reason for the smoke and smell on cold starting.

I wondered if anyone had any advice on what I should do, if anything. Is the smoking and smell normal for a diesel? It is a 3 year old car, so my first thought was that it shouldn’t be doing this.

It is so bad, that I cannot drive onto my driveway as when I reverse the next day, the car is engulfed in smoke and fumes which is not pleasant.


No, I can assure that is not normal for a diesel.
To me, it suggests a faulty glow plug on one or more of the cylinders.
So that/those cylinder/s isn't warm when it starts and you're getting the smoke.


Distinguished Member
Most modern diesels don't even use the glow plugs to start anymore unless the temp is really cold, they use compression and the glow plugs just regulate heat for emissions. The big cloud of smoke doesn't sound right though and that egg smell is usually the CAT.


Active Member
Thanks for the replies. Will give them a call today and get it booked in. Hopefully they should sort this without any hassle. cheers


FWIW, don't accept any 'they all do that' nonsense.
That 1.6 diesel engine is a Ford engine, fitted to Ford/Volvo/Mazda cars (Fiesta/Focus/Mazda3/C30/S40 etc)
I've had one myself, fitted to a Fiesta.
And it didn't start with a cloud of smoke.


Active Member
Hi all,

Thought I would give you an update. Car was booked in and they discovered the EGR valve was faulty. They had it overnight as they didn't have the part in, so I collected it the next evening. What a difference that made. it was like driving a new car!.
Unfortunately the problem has now reappeared. I am getting a great cloud of exhaust smoke and smell when I start it first thing, as well as the idle being very lumpy.
So I have it booked in again for next week.

My thoughts are now - Is the EGR valve faulty again, or is there another underlying issue?

At least this time they are providing me with a courtesy car.


The cynic in me thinks they didn't replace the EGR, maybe just cleaned it.
But if it's actually faulty (sticking), cleaning will only be a temporary fix.
If it were me, I'd be marking the EGR with a little mark only I would see, then I'd know if replaced this time.


Distinguished Member
Diesel engine oil goes black within a few hours of running the engine, so it does not necessarily mean the oil has not been changed.

If the EGR valve is clogging up, it usually means increased crank case pressure, which could be due to cylinder blow by.

Volvo diesels do seem to run more roughly than the Ford variant - certainly mine does! I think they run them leaner, which leads to a bit more knocking. Smoke however, is not normal.


Distinguished Member
Agree with the above. And kudos for marking the EGR valve. Could try some cleaner yourself and see if that helps?
The egg smell will be the Cat spewing it's crap out

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