Revisit this discussion: Entrance animation/exit animation - can we do emphasis?

I am looking for a way to make a truck look like it's "putt-putting" smoke behind it while it moves. I've used the time line and animation to "sort of" simulate it but's it's a very time-consuming and tedious process. I'm using flat images, drew the clouds of smoke using captions that look like clouds.

I reviewed the notes from the discussion mentioned above and it seems like nothing has changed from 2 years ago. Am I missing something, or is there a better way to do this?

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