The valve cover is a small but important piece among car parts. It’s designed to seal the surfaces found between the cylinder head and covers, preventing oil from leaking out anywhere it shouldn’t be able to. The valves on your engine sit inside this part so that they can open and close when necessary, in order for air or fuel to flow through them appropriately at all times without any leakage happening. This seal also helps protect your ignition system by sealing off spark plug ports.
If you’re noticing a strong burning smell coming from the engine compartment, which is often accompanied by oil seeping out in small amounts and dripping to the ground under your car’s hood, then it may be time for some preventative measures, like replacing the valve cover. This leak can cause significant damage if left unchecked as this area of the engine houses important parts such as spark plugs or coolant hoses.
How much will the valve cover gasket replacement cost?
The costs of replacing a valve cover gasket will depend greatly upon what type of car you drive and which mechanic/dealership service center does the work; however, our research found that most people spend somewhere between $125-$350 when replacing this part, with the cost of the valve cover being just a fraction of the full price, and the rest being the cost of labor.
If you are a luxury car owner, then the prices for your repairs or part replacement, in general, will be much higher than what you would spend on an average car. The table below shows how different popular brands compare on the cost of valve cover gasket replacement:
|Chevrolet Silverado 1600||$140|
New parts range from $10 to $35 depending on the make and model of a vehicle. On Amazon, most best-selling valve covers retail for about $15-$40 but AutoZone offers some at just $10. Now if you need replacement estimates then YourMechanic has mechanics in its system who can help with that too–they state average cost ranges anywhere between $149-$655.
How will a valve cover gasket work?
This valve cover rests atop of the cylinder head, and the valve cover gasket, typically built from rubber and developed to specifically fit this location, is sandwiched in between the two, permitting the oil to move. In many cases, when this part is considered damaged, the ignition system gaskets, parts of this component, will have to be changed at the same time as the valve cover.
The actual replacement process
A good mechanic is always careful to not damage the parts as they remove them. The bolts holding this valve cover together will first be tapped loose in order to access the gasket that needs replacing. Depending on your vehicle’s setup, any hoses, cables, and other electrical connectors which are attached to this part may need removing too, before removing the valve cover.
Next, the mechanic will remove each spark plug and inspect for signs of oil dripping. If any pools of oil are found, then they will usually have to clean the tubes using a washcloth attached to a screwdriver. Next, the mechanic will have to check each spark plug and replace the damaged ones, if any.
When the ignition system is back in position, the valve cover will be taken out, revealing the gasket. At this moment, the old gasket will be eliminated and the cover will be cleaned with a brake cleaner and dried out with a cloth. Next off, the mating surface areas on the engine will be cleaned and any traces of old sealant on the timing belt cover-to-cylinder head will also be cleaned.
When the car will be completely cleaned and dried, a new vulcanizing sealant will be applied at all of its essential points. The parts can then be replaced with a brand-new valve cover gasket before finally bolting down this particular piece in place.
Symptoms of a bad valve cover gasket
Oil running down the side of your valve cover will leave a stain that you can’t ignore. Oil is acidic and corrosive, so it’s not just an aesthetic problem – if left unchecked, oil leaking on different parts of the car could damage other components as well.
A visual inspection can show signs of wear and tear on this particular gasket. If ignored, this could lead to the buildup of oil in other parts within your engine which may cause a variety of problems for you and your car, in some remoted cases even causing a fire.
Debris and oil found around the valve cover can sometimes be a sign of faulty parts.
A burning oil smell may come from beneath the hood when you’re driving, an indication that something needs to be checked out by your mechanic before it becomes more serious or damaging.
Important tips to remember
This part will eventually break down to a point where it begins leaking. When this happens, if it isn’t too sudden, the leak is usually noticeable during your next service appointment and can be repaired before getting out of hand.