Valve Cover Gasket Replacement

Engine Related Issues

By Rodney (Mechanics)

The engine has a valve cover gasket or a rubber seal under the valve cover and beside the engine cylinder head. It encloses the oil to find itself in the valve cover and not anywhere else, particularly in the combustion chamber where it could be burnt and, in turn, lowers the performance. Regardless of the motorcycle diet, these two squares safeguard the engine from contaminants getting into the valves and camshafts.

Besides that, this particular gasket piece has to deal with the engine parts being separated over time, and small cracks or holes in some spots eventually take their toll. And signs of a faulty valve cover gasket mostly will have the following symptoms:

  • Oil contamination can be observed around the valve cover or on the spark plugs.
  • Stains of oil on the ground o on the bottom of a hood.
  • More odious is the smell of burning fuel or the smoke from the exhaust.
  • Faulty firing or coarse idling of the engine.
  • Reduced fuel efficiency or power
  • Check engine light or oil pressure warning light

If you ignore these signs, you may end up with more severe and expensive problems below:

  • Damaged spark plugs, wires, coils, or sensors
  • Corroded or clogged catalytic converter or oxygen sensor
  • Engine overheating or seizing
  • Incidence or polution due to fire or environment.

Fails Valve Cover Gasket Replacement

How much does it cost to replace a valve cover gasket?

The average cost generally ranges from $139 to $442, with some cars costing more than others depending on the brand and model, the mechanic’s charge, and the parts and supplies required. This simply the estimated value and prices may vary, based on your area, the condition of your engine and the complexity of the repair.

What Causes Valve Cover Gasket Failure?

The valve cover gasket lies within the engine at a high temperature and pressure levels. Across the timeframe, these array of factors can erode the gasket’s elasticity and sealing efficiency due to its wear. undefined

  • Age: The valve cover gasket is produced from rubber or silicone, and their components are prone to degradation due to heat, oil or oxygen exposure. The seal can become stiff, cracked or bowed which can then create a possibility of an oil leak. The lifespan for an average valve cover gasket is estimated to be between 50,000 miles to 100,000 miles, subject to the quality of the material and to the driving conditions.
  • Heat: Heat is created by the engine, when the car is in motion at high speed or while traveling over a large distance. The heat can result in the expansion and contraction of the valve cover gasket and so allows the formation of cracks or gaps in the seal. The heat can also oxidize the oil and make it more acidic, in the result of which the gasket loosens its joints and is therefore less adequate to its context.
  • Oil pressure: While the oil pressure inside the engine can undergo a change in regard to the engine’s speed, load, and temperature, The oil pressure can drive the oil through the valve cover gasket to leave its cracks and crevices, and that will cause a leak. Extended monitoring of the oil pressure can be a cause of the gasket to bulge or blow if the oil is overfilled or the oil filter is clogged, all this can lead to a defective gaskets.
  • Engine vibration: There is a lot of attachment in the engine, especially when it comes to acceleration or deceleration. The vibration may lead to the shift or movement in the cover gasket and consequently cause leakage or cracks in the seal. The fluctuation also has the ability to loosen tightness or even break the valve cover bolts or screws which in turn makes the gasket to be ineffective.

New Valve Cover Gasket

How to Prevent Valve Cover Gasket Failure?

In order to avoid valve cover gasket failure, proper engine maintenance including inspection of the gasket’s well-being is the best solution. undefined

  • Change the oil and filter regularly: Oil and filter are so valuable for the engine lubrication, cooling process and also wear and friction prevention. On the other hand, the grease can get dirty and contaminated in time, therefore, it is more likely to be less effective and cause the gasket to wear and tear. Besides, the filter can get clogged up such that the flow of the oil is restricted and the pressure results in leaks. Unfortunately, the bottom line is you have to be aware of regular oil and filter change according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, typically in the range of 3,000 to 10,000 miles dependent on the kind and quality of the oil and filter.
  • Use high-quality engine oil and additives: The performance and lifespan of the valve cover gasket depend on the engine oil and additives you use. It would help if you used the correct oil grade and viscosity for your engine, as specified by the owner’s manual or the oil cap. Another issue of concern is to ensure that you use good engine oil and additives that protect the gasket against corrosion, such as synthetic engine oil, anti-wear additives, and seal conditioners. They can contribute to oil and gasket lubrication properties and sealing and thus help the components to survive longer and block leaks.
  • Use correct oil grade and don’t overfilling: The gasket may be damaged and become leaky or blowout over time if the operating pressure rises because the oil level is too high or the wrong oil grade is used. To ensure you have sufficient oil, check the oil level and quality with a dipstick before adding or changing the oil. Moreover, besides the manufacturer’s recommendation for an oil grade and its viscosity, make sure the oil is thicker or thinner than recommended because different oils affect the engine’s performance and the gasket’s state. In one or the other case, the oil’s specifics are illustrated on the owner’s manual or the oil cap. To showcase an example, 5W30 means the oil has blood of 5 at low and 30 at high temperatures.

These preventive steps can extend the lifespan of the valve cover gasket and the engine and save you money on repairs and replacements.

Valve Cover Gasket Location

How to Diagnose Valve Cover Gasket Failure?

When you suspect that your valve cover gasket is failing, do diagnosing the problem ASAP, find and confirm the source of the leak. To diagnose valve cover gasket leak you need following tools:

  • A flashlight: To check under the valve cover gasket and other surrounding areas for oil leakage or damage you need flashlight. Make sure the engine is cold and off because dealing with a hot engine can be dangerous and may result in burns or other injuries.
  • A rag: You will need a rag to cleanse any oil or grease from the valve cover gasket and the engine. Thus, the gasket’s condition and the leak’s size can be observed and appraised better.
  • A mirror: Make sure you have a mirror to view the bottom of the valve cover gasket and the cylinder head by looking inside; it is in this part that the leak point may be more visible or severe. You can use a mirror with a flexible handle attached to a magnet. It could be a handheld mirror or a mechanic’s.

Below is steps to diagnose valve cover gasket failure:

  • Locate the valve cover gasket: The valve cover gasket is at the top part of the engine, covered with a finished cover, and usually, there should be an engine’s name or logo printed there. It could be the case where you need to remove the cover to get the gasket, as that type of design differs for each engine type. You will use either socket wrenches or screwdrivers to unscrew the screws or bolts and take off the cover from its position. Please be aware that should you break or lose any part or wire adjacent to the cover or the o-ring, this will amount to a warranty violation, and you will be charged extra.
  • Inspect the valve cover gasket: With a rag, a mirror, and a flashlight, please check whether the valve cover gasket and cylinder head have any cracks, holes, or signs of oil seepage directly over them. Additionally, consider inspecting spark plugs, wires, coils, and sensors for oil or any damage, which would suggest a valve cover gasket leak. Should the symptoms(i.e. the puddles of oil beneath the vehicle, smoking, or gurgling sound) exist, the sign is that the valve cover gasket needs to be changed.

Determining the root causes of valve cover gasket failure earlier makes it possible to save a car from additional repairs, prevent spending money on unnecessarily repaired parts, and plan for the replacement accordingly.

Valve Cover Gasket Replacement Tools Needed

FAQs

Can I drive with a bad valve cover gasket?

Bad valve cover gasket can cause oil leaks, fire hazards, or engine damage. So, when the valve cover gasket fails don’t drive the car. Replace the valve cover gasket ASAP to prevent more damage from happening.

How do I know if my valve cover gasket is leaking oil?

You can check for oil leaks by inspecting the valve cover and the cylinder head for oil stains, drips, or puddles. Also, check for oil on the spark plugs, wires, or coils, affecting the ignition system. Another way to detect oil leaks is to smell burning oil, which can occur when the oil drips onto the exhaust manifold or other hot engine parts.

What are the benefits of replacing the valve cover gasket?

Oil leaks can be prevented by replacing the valve cover gasket. And you will avoid the following problems

  • Weak performance and less efficiency in terms of fuel consumption.
  • Enhanced emission and pollution.
  • Engine operating with high temperatures and its aftermath.
  • Fire risk and peril to individual safety
  • Expensive, instead of repairs.

How do I choose the right valve cover gasket for my car?

This part is the valve cover gasket specific to the particular auto brand and model year. It allows you to select the correct valve cover gaskets compatible with your engine and your requirements. The only way to get the right valve cover gasket is by searching your car manual, going online, or asking an expert. Moreover, you can research various valve cover gaskets – inflame, cork and silicone, among others, and find out which type is reputed to be of the best quality, durability, and fit for your car.

Can I replace the valve cover gasket myself?

Switching for the valve cover gasket is rather a simple task that you can do yourself by using the necessary tools. Nonetheless, you should pay attention to any details and follow the instructions, so as not to make any mistakes or damage the engine more. In addition to that, you should wear protective gloves and goggles as well make sure that the decommissioned gasket and oil are correctly disposed of. In case you need more confidence or experience to replace the valve cover gasket. If it is so, you should better approach a qualified mechanic or a trustworthy service for help or consultation.