What is the Valve Cover Gasket all about?
The valve cover is a metal cover that is found on very top of the engine. The valve cover is attached to the engine by a gasket made of rubber or cork. The valve cover and gasket seal the top of the engine and prevent oil leaks. These covers are removable so the mechanic can access the valves for adjustment. Because of the high temperature of the engine, it is common for the valve cover gasket to get brittle and break. If the gasket is worn out, it will leak engine oil and the top of the engine will be covered in oil. Since the engine is losing oil, running the car for too long without an inspection and repair can cause engine damage.
Keep in mind:
When the valve cover gasket is replaced, the valve cover should be inspected as well.
How it's done:
- Inspect the valve cover for leaks.
- Remove and replace the valve cover gasket(s) if faulty.
If you notice oil on the ground beneath your car, get your car inspected as soon as you can. Do not drive the car for too long with low engine oil. If they see an oil leak, most mechanics will inspect the valve cover gasket first. Schedule regular oil changes to minimize the sludge formation in your engine.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Valve Cover Gasket?
- Oil is leaking.
- Debris and oil around the valve cover.
- Slight oil smell.
- Oil found in spark plug wells.
How important is this service?
Your engine’s internal pieces are lubricated with oil. This oil needs to stay in the engine, because the engine relies on it, and it can be harmful if it leaks out. To keep the oil where it belongs, your engine is sealed in many places. On the top, your engine is sealed by the valve cover. This valve cover has a gasket (which is made out of rubber or cork), which seals the cover to the engine, and keeps any oil from leaking out.
If the gasket deteriorates, oil will begin to leak out. If the oil leaks out, your engine will not be properly lubricated, and serious engine damage can occur. Oil that leaks out through the valve cover gasket can also fall into the exhaust system and ignite an engine fire.