A valve cover is pretty much what it sounds like: A metal cover that sits inside the engine that covers the gasket and keeps the oil inside. That is a good thing. The valve cover is sealed with a cork or rubber seal that keeps any oil from leaking out. Oil is used in your engine to keep the internal parts lubricated and working well. Without the oil, engine would parts would seize, or freeze together. When the valve cover starts to fail, the oil starts to leak out indicating it is time for a valve cover replacement.
Symptoms of a Faulty Valve Cover:
You might have something wrong with your valve cover if notice any of these symptoms:
• Burning oil smell
This is happens when the engine is running and oil escapes the cover from a crack or worn area in the gasket. If you smell burning oil, you should have it checked out right away to determine the source of the oil leak.
• Evidence of leaking oil on the Valve cover
This can be observed during oil changes or maintenance service. The technician will inspect the valve cover to see if there is any evidence of a leak on or around valve cover gasket.
• Low Engine Oil
You will see the Engine Oil Light appear on your dashboard. Or will need to add oil often to keep your oil at the optimum level. Contact us to have this diagnosed to determine the cause of the oil leak.
• Engine is running rough and causing misfires
Sometimes the oil leaks from a valve cover gasket effects the spark plugs. This reduces engine performance and can cause a misfire. You should have this diagnosed as soon as possible since it can cause damage to your engine and even cause a fire under your hood if it goes unrepaired.
How is a valve cover gasket replaced?
When you bring your vehicle to Chapman Auto Repair of Orange we will perform diagnostics to determine if the Valve Cover needs to be replaced. If this service is needed, the technician will:
- Remove the valve cover
- Remove the old gasket
- Clean all gasket surfaces
- Install the new valve cover gasket
- On some engines, removal of the intake manifold or other major parts may be required in order to access the fasteners on the cover.
- After completion, the area will be checked for leaks.
Our ASE certified mechanics are able to diagnose the problem and replace the bad valve cover gasket correctly. They will determine if there are any other issues that need to be addressed such as an oil change or maintenance item.
So if you notice oil on the ground beneath your car, smell burning oil when you are driving, need to add oil to your car more than usual, we suggest you get your car inspected as soon as you can. Don’t ignore the low engine oil light and hope it will go away. Valve Cover Replacement is a simple repair if done early and will keep your car running smoothly.