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What Does A Valve Cover Do?

Published by: Genman
Date of Publish:

The overall efficiency and health of the engine are necessary for a car to perform in a better way. For this purpose, it is necessary to take care of all the parts of the engine. One of the small but important parts accessories which are used for better health is known as the valve cover. The valve cover is also known as the rocker cover. A valve cover is located inside the engine whose main purpose is to cover the gasket and keep the fuel oil inside. The main purpose of a valve cover is to prevent the leakage of the fuel oil. The valve cover is closed with a stopper which could be made up of rubber whose main work is to prevent the leaking process. As leaking of the fuel can affect the efficiency of the car and also result in more usage of fuel, using a valve cover can overcome the issue of leaking.

What is a valve cover?

A valve cover could be made up of plastic or could be made up of metal. It is tucked in at the top of the cylinder. The cylinder of a car is the powerhouse car. In the cylinder of the engine, combustion takes place. Fuel from the fuel tank and air from the carburetor is mixed thoroughly and due to the spark, combustion takes place. This combustion provides the energy to the engine by which a car is driven. Now, at the top of the cylinder, there are two valves. One valve is called an inlet valve and the other is called an outlet valve. Inlet valves take the fuel vapors and gases while outlet valve is used as an exhaust for the burnt gases. These inlet and outlet valves use a valve cover. Between the cylinder head and valve cover, another hardware is used which is called a cover gasket. The gap between the cylinder head and the valve cover is filled with a cover gasket. The use of a cover gasket prevents the leaking of the fuel up to one hundred percent. A valve cover gasket could be made up of plastic or metal. The valve cover gasket is a two-way barrier. The use of a valve cover and valve cover gasket keeps the fuel oil inside the combustion chamber. Nowadays the valve covers are made up of molded plastic or cast metal.

The valve cover keeps the oil inside the engine. If a valve cover is not used then oil from the engine will be splashed at the upper part of the engine. By using a valve cover, the splashed oil is collected and flowed again towards the oil pan. The engines of all vehicles need a proper amount of oil to operate at maximum efficiency. The low-quality usage of valve cover will ultimately result in bad performance and health of the engine of the vehicle. The valve gasket is an important part of the valve closer. It can be said that valve closer and valve gasket are mandatory for each other. Use of one part and neglecting the other will also result in bad performance of the engine.

What makes a valve cover faulty?

The valve cover can be cracked if it is not taken care of properly. But with time it is necessary to replace the valve cover. Some of the main reasons which make the replacement of a valve cover necessary are given as follow:

  • Exposure of gasket to dirt.
  • A continuous encounter of the gasket with high temperature.
  • Rusting of gasket due to oxidation of metals.

There are some other reasons which can make valve cover faulty. These include exposure to debris, not taking care of the parts of the engine, etc. if the faulty gasket or valve closer is not replaced timely it can result in leaking of oil from the engine, a decrease in the smoothness of acceleration of the vehicle, and decrease in the overall efficiency of the engine.

What are the indications of a faulty valve cover?

There are some common indications from which everyone can understand that the valve has been damaged and needs a replacement or should be fixed. Some of the common indications are given as follows.

1. Decrease in the smoothness of the engine and misfiring:

A faulty valve cover produces a misfire in the engine. Due to a broken or damaged valve cover or valve cover gasket, the oil leaks from the engine and drains inside to the spark plug tubes, eventually producing a misfire in the engine. If this is not repaired timely it can cause a fire as well.

2. Formation of dirt cake at the head of a cylinder:

When the valve cover becomes very dirty then a cake of dirt is formed at the head of the cylinder. Due to the formation of this dirt cake at the valve cover, the valve cover gasket could be damaged and hence the leakage of the oil from the cylinder started.  So, the formation of the dirt cake can ultimately result in bad health for the engine.

3. Rough working of the engine:

Due to malfunctioned valve gasket, the oil starts leaking from the cylinder. This will consequently result in having an empty oil pan of the engine. An empty oil pan of the engine means that there is no proper amount of oil to lubricate the major parts of the engine. Not proper lubrication results in the rough working of the engine.

4. The smell of the burning oil:

A broken or worn-out valve cover and valve cover gasket give a passage for the oil of the engine to escape from the cylinder. This escaping of the oil from the cylinder drips on the cylinder head. If the engine is running and the oil droplets are dripping at the engine then the hot engine will cause the burning of the vapors and droplets of the oil. The smell of burnt oil will start coming out. From this indication, the driver will indicate that there is a problem with the valve cover and valve cover gasket.

From these four indications, everyone can indicate that there is a malfunctioning valve cover or valve cover gasket.

Implications for the engine if the valve cover does not work properly?

There are mainly two issues that result in bad health of the engine and affect the overall efficiency of the vehicle. These two are given as follows;

1. Overheating of the engine:

The function of the oil inside the cylinder has to lubricate all the parts of the engine and also keep them cool. The malfunctioning of the valve cover gasket and valve cover results in leakage of the fuel and ultimately the overheating of the engine happens.

2. Wearing of engine parts:

As the oil lubricates the engine parts due to which engine works smoothly. If there is leakage of the oil and there will be no proper oil in the engine. No proper oil will ultimately result in the wearing of the engine parts. Without oil, there will be a greater frictional force between the working parts of the engine due to which wearing of the engine will happen.

How to replace the valve cover?

The valve cover can be replaced in four easy steps. A professional technician will take almost 180 minutes to change valve cover and valve gasket. First of all, before changing the valve cover and valve gasket it is more beneficial to tight the bolts of a valve cover with the help of a wrench. If tightening of bolts stops the leakage then there is no need to replace both items with a new one. If the leakage is not stopped by tighting the bolts then the following steps can be taken to replace it with a new one.

  1. Firstly, wait for the engine to cool. When the engine is cooled then remove hoses, spark plugs, and throttle cables.
  2. Before starting the second step, it would be great if the head of the engine is covered with a newspaper. By doing this, there will be no threat of falling off any washel or bolt into the engine. Then remove the valve cover gently. Usage of a rubber hammer can help in weakening the grip of the valve cover.
  3. In the third step, a new valve gasket and a valve cover are installed. The aluminum-made gaskets and valve cover should be used as it is more durable. By using the scrapping of plastic the whole model will become more efficient. The scrapping of metals on the aluminum cover valve and gasket should not be used. Apply silicon where required. Improper use of silicon can again result in leakage of the oil
  4. The last step is about covering the gasket with the cover and to tight the bolts by applying normal torque. Too much torque applied can result in the breaking of the bolts. At last install, all the hoses, spark plugs, and throttle cable.

With these four easy steps, a valve cover along with a gasket can be replaced. An estimated cost of almost 120 dollars to 500 dollars. 120 dollars are used for purchasing the parts and rest in the labor cost.

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