Valve covers are an essential and important component of any internal combustion engine. It serves to cover the valves and other components in the engine head, preventing any foreign debris from entering the valves and causing oil leakage.
Well, the engine valve cover gasket is a normal-looking part. But a damaged valve cover gasket can cause oil leakage.
In this article, what is a valve cover gasket? Symptoms of a damaged valve cover gasket, how do you replace it, and what is the replacement cost?
What Is A Valve Cover Gasket
A valve cover gasket is a type of plastic or rubber sealing component that prevents engine oil leakage and foreign debris from entering the engine cylinder head. The valve cover gasket is seated between the engine’s valve cover and cylinder head.
Engine valve cover gaskets are usually made of rubber or plastic materials. Engine valve cover gaskets are durable and resistant to heat, pressure, and chemicals. Valve cover gaskets are a common and easy-to-replace item, as engine valve cover gaskets can wear out over time, causing engine oil leaking problems.
Symptoms Of A Bad Valve Cover Gasket Leak
The most common symptom of a bad valve cover gasket is oil leakage, which can cause symptoms such as oil accumulation on the engine, a burning oil smell, low engine oil level, or smoke coming from the engine.
1. Oil Leaking On Engine Surface
The valve cover gasket in any internal combustion engine prevents engine oil from leaking out. But when, for some reason, the valve cover gasket of the engine is damaged or leaks, then, when the engine is started, you can see the engine oil leaking around the top surface of the engine.
If the valve cover gasket is excessively damaged or torn. Then you can also see engine oil dripping, which can cause a serious problem for the engine if it leaks for a long time.
2. Smoke From Engine Surface
Engine oil can often be seen leaking onto the top surface of the engine if the valve cover gasket is damaged or leaking.
Due to which the oil present on the surface of the engine starts burning when the engine is hot when the engine is running for a long time, due to which you can see smoke or steam blowing from around the engine of a moving vehicle
These conditions can cause serious problems for the engine and the vehicle. So never ignore the smoke that comes out due to oil leakage from the engine.
3. Oil Burning Smell
When the valve cover gasket of your vehicle’s internal combustion engine is damaged or worn. Then often you start getting engine oil burning smell and this smell comes when the engine is hot.
Because the engine oil applied on the surface of the engine starts burning when the engine gets hot. Due to which you start getting the smell of oil burning from around the engine while driving the vehicle. So never ignore a valve cover gasket leak, as it causes your engine oil level to drop continuously.
4. Oil Leak On Glow Plugs
Damaged or cracked engine valve cover gaskets often result in oil leaking into the interior of an engine’s glow plug or spark plug, causing the glow plug or spark plug to fail.
However, oil leaks into the interior of glow plugs and spark plugs can also be caused by damaged piston rings and burnt valves. But leaking valve cover gaskets can also cause engine glow plugs and spark plugs to leak oil.
How To Replace Valve Cover Gasket?
Valve Cover Gasket Replace Process
- This process must be done with the engine cold, as replacing the valve cover gasket with the engine hot can be harmful to you.
First, you drain the engine oil and also remove the oil filter.
- After this, you will also have to remove all the components that get in the way of opening the valve cover, such as the air filter, spark plugs, wires, etc., to make it easier for you to open the valve cover.
- After this, with the help of a suitable tool, open the nuts on the valve cover.
- After this, you carefully lift up the valve cover. You should not use any kind of force to lift it up.
- Next, brush the surfaces of the engine head and remove the old gasket from the valve cover and clean it thoroughly as well, where the gasket will sit.
- After this, you should put a new gasket in the valve cover and use sealant or gasket maker on it.
- After this, install the valve cover with a gasket on the engine head and tighten its nuts well.
- Then re-install the components you removed when you opened the valve cover.
- After this, you put the new oil filter in the engine and fill it with new engine oil.
- Now start the engine for 5 to 10 minutes to confirm the valve cover gasket leak.
- In this way, you can easily replace the valve cover gasket of the engine.
Note: Replacing the valve cover gasket of any internal combustion engine depends on the type and design of the engine. This is an easy and inexpensive process for normal engines. But replacing a valve cover gasket can be a complicated process in some engines. Because in some diesel engines, the fuel injector and timing chain may also have to be removed.
Valve Cover Gasket Replacement Cost
On average, valve cover gasket replacement costs can range from $150 to $400, including mechanic’s labor costs. But this estimated cost does not include taxes and fees.
A typical engine valve cover gasket can cost between $100 and $280, and a mechanic’s labor cost can be between $50 and $120.
However, valve cover gasket replacement costs may be more or less dependent on the vehicle model, engine type, location, and experience of the mechanic.
If you are experienced in engine valve cover gasket replacement and have adequate tools, you can save on the cost of valve cover gasket replacement.
Q. How serious is a valve cover gasket leak?
Yes, it can cause a serious problem if you drive the vehicle for an extended period of time with a leaking valve cover gasket. Because a damaged valve cover gasket can cause oil to leak out and your vehicle’s engine oil to end up running low, the engine of your vehicle can be badly damaged.
Q. How much does it cost to replace a valve cover gasket?
Your vehicle’s engine valve cover gasket replacement cost will accurately average $150 to $400 for mechanic labor, depending on the make and type of engine in your vehicle.
Q. Can you drive with a valve cover gasket leak?
No, it is not recommended by any vehicle manufacturer or any professional vehicle mechanic to drive a vehicle with a valve cover gasket leak for an extended period of time. because it can completely disable and damage the engine of your vehicle.
Banty is the owner of Autorepairszone.com & is also a vehicle mechanic by profession. We have almost 12 years of experience in the field of automotive repair, and we strive to provide you with accurate information about vehicle malfunctions and repairs based on our experience.