Typically made from rubber or cork, a valve cover gasket helps seal the gap between the valve cover and the top of the engine. When this gasket is in place, it prevents oil from leaking out onto the outside of the engine. Because of the tremendous heat produced by an engine, valve cover gaskets may break down over time, causing leaks.
How this system works:
The engine valve cover is typically the topmost part of an engine and is marked with either the name of the manufacturer or the size of the engine. A valve cover gasket is put in place because the metal of the valve cover does not seal tightly enough against the metal of the top of the engine. The rubber or cork material of the valve cover gasket ensures a good seal, and helps prevent oil from spilling out of the top of the engine.
Valve cover gaskets do not typically last the life of a vehicle and should be monitored at the time of every service. Checking for oil around the valve cover is especially important for vehicles with four-cylinder engines because of an increased chance that oil could spill into spark plug tubes, causing misfires.
Oil leaks can cause damage to any engine and should be dealt with immediately.
Common reasons for this to happen:
Blown Valve Cover Gaskets: The tremendous heat an engine produces can cause valve cover gaskets to become brittle and break down over time.
Damaged Valve Covers: When replacing your valve cover gasket, a mechanic should also examine your valve cover(s) to make sure they are still intact. Damage to a valve cover could also cause an oil leak.
What to expect:
A top-rated mobile mechanic will come to your home or office to determine the cause of the oil leak and make sure the valve cover gasket needs to be replaced. The mechanic will then provide a detailed inspection report outlining the cause of the leak and the cost of any repairs that need to be made.
How it's done:
A mechanic will perform a thorough inspection of the engine bay and determine the source of the leak. If the source seems to be coming from the valve cover gasket, the mechanic will remove the valve cover and gasket. Different engines require different gaskets. Our mechanics will make sure they find the one that fits your vehicle exactly. A poorly-fitting gasket will not be able to do its job as effectively.
After installing the new gasket, the mechanic will examine the valve cover to make sure it is fully intact. If not, the mechanic will replace the valve cover and check the engine oil level. If your engine sprung an oil leak due to a damaged valve cover, your vehicle might be low on oil. Our mechanics will make sure your oil is topped-off before they leave. The mechanic should then start the engine and examine the valve cover gasket again to make sure it was installed properly and is not leaking.
How important is this service?
While a small oil leak may not seem like a major issue, it can lead to both potentially dangerous and potentially costly repairs. A proactive approach to maintaining the life of an engine should include a check for oil around the valve cover. If oil leaks are discovered early, a mechanic can make the necessary repairs and avoid more significant engine issues. Oil leaks of any kind should be taken seriously and should be reported to a mechanic.