An engine must be tightly sealed so that it can work efficiently.
When it comes to sealing parts of an engine, there is nothing that seals better than a gasket.
The gasket takes the most damage and abuse every time the engine ignites and runs. However, due to the small size of the gasket, it is never recognized for its efforts. The valve cover gasket is one such gasket that is greatly underestimated.
This special gasket has the task to protect all valve components as well as the parts in the cylinders from pollutants. Alternatively, the valve cover and the valve cover gasket keep the cylinder components sealed inside so that no oil or petrol splashes around.
Even though the valve cover is protected everywhere, there is still the possibility of it being spoiled. The valve cover gasket is also protected by the valve cover itself, but it is vulnerable to breakage. A gasket breaks after a few thousand miles, so it is natural for you to have it replaced.
Gaskets wear out due to heat and dirt, among other things, and if they break, they wreak havoc inside the engine. The gasket that prevents the oil from leaking from the cylinders is no longer able to perform its functions, and as a result, your engine loses power. Above all, it is very likely that you will get an engine seizure if you do not have it replaced.
Symptoms of a damaged valve cover
Fortunately, a failure of the valve head gasket can give you some indications so that you can carry out the repairs in time. If you are too lazy with your repairs, well, you know what will happen to your engine. So never be careless and drive directly to your nearest certified mechanic for an inspection.
A few dollars spent at the beginning will save you a lot of money later.
Here is a list of symptoms that can occur when the valve cover gasket fails.
1. Foul Smell from The Engine
If the valve cover gasket breaks or cracks, the seal is broken, releasing the compressed oil from the bottom of the valve cover. The oil will leak everywhere and cause a mess inside the valve cover. If this event occurs while your car’s engine is still running, the excess oil will leak into the cylinder heads, fuel or air intakes, and even into the exhaust manifolds.
All these components are extremely hot when they are in operation, so any oil leakage will cause a burnt smell. You can easily detect this smell as it is quite nasty and distinguishable. If you smell something burning, go directly to your trusted mechanic and have it repaired.
2. Valve Cover Covered in Oil
If you have your car serviced regularly, you need to know that your mechanic will leave no stone unturned to make your car as good as new. During a service or oil change, you will find that your mechanic checks the valve cover for signs of oil splashes and leaks.
If the valve cover is dirty when it should not be, you will notice a failure of the valve cover gasket. If there is oil splashing on the underside of your bonnet, your valve cover may also be loose and leak oil while the engine is running.
3. Low Levels of Engine Oil
If the engine oil leaks due to a cracked gasket, the oil level in the oil pan drops. Then, if the engine oil level is too low, the ECU will illuminate the oil light on the dashboard. An oil level that is too low means that your engine is not getting the correct lubrication it needs for optimum performance. This can lead to an increase in frictional energy and this will cause the engine to overheat.
If the engine overheats and its temperature is not controlled, the engine can seize up and fail completely. So when you see the engine oil light in the dashboard, stop your car and let it cool down. Once it has cooled down, check the oil level. If it is extremely low, you should consider calling your mechanic for help.
If the oil level is not extremely low, you can alternatively drive to the nearest mechanic and have your engine oil topped up. Do not delay the oil change under any circumstances, as you will have much greater consequences.
4. Rough Idling and Misfires
When oil leaks from the valve cover, it can seep into many important areas, such as where the spark plugs are located. The oil can saturate the spark plugs, which can impair their ability to spark. The uneven sparks can cause misfiring and result in poor engine performance.
Also, your car will not run smoothly when idling. There will be unnecessary rumbling, which is not good for the health of your pistons. And if this problem goes unnoticed and untreated, it can lead to an uncontrolled fire inside the engine, causing further problems.
Valve Cover Replacement Cost
If any of the above symptoms have occurred, there is a failure of the valve cover or valve cover gasket. A small thing like a gasket can make a big difference in the performance and health of your engine. Because it breaks so easily, there is no permanent solution.
You need to have it replaced every time it breaks. Fortunately, the gaskets are not very expensive. You can get one for under $100. However, if you really want to be safe longer, you should choose a gasket that costs $100 or more. The only problem with a gasket that fails is that it can be easily replaced, but it costs a lot.
You can expect labor costs of more than $100 because when the mechanic opens the valve cover, he inspects all the damage inside the cylinder heads, valves and other engine components.