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Q: I was told to change my valve gasket and valve cover. Should I?

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I got an oil change in mid-July and in September my oil light came on so I took it to the mechanic and he said I need a valve gasket. He has seen oil he said its going to cost 450. So I went and got another mechanic advice he told he that I need to change my gasket and valve cover. He said if I don't, I'll have problems and he is charging me 700. What should I do?
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hi, thanks for writing in. Five years is a ...

Hi, thanks for writing in. Five years is a bit on the early side to have a leaking valve cover gasket. The labor time is 3 hours to replace that gasket and YourMechanic typically charges around $400 (part and labor) but there is some variance from region to region. The second estimate that you received is clearly high but not sure if that second estimate includes a new valve cover. The original cover is normally re-usable and if anyone proposes to replace it, they should show you clear evidence of a major problem. It is best not to have engine oil leaks, but if the leak from the valve cover is small, not dripping on a hot manifold (fire hazard) or dripping onto rubber motor mounts, wiring, and so forth you can wait a little while to repair it. Here at YourMechanic, we can have a technician come to your home or office to perform your valve cover gasket replacement for you.

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