The valve cover present on the engine of your vehicle may become stained at times because of dirt and oil. So, valve covers help your car get rid of such stains. These are mainly made of metal with a smooth texture. And you may know that both metal and smooth textures are not easy to clean. So, painting the valve cover is the only option left in order to make it look like a new one. This will reduce the cost and help you know how to keep it safe.
In order to learn the art of painting your valve cover, you must know how to use paints and basic tools. Not like you can use any paint and any tool to get the job done. This will do more harm than good as you cannot use certain paints because of corrosion issues or due to their thickness which may cause the car engine to become heavy. This will make it difficult for you to start it, and the engine may also stop working.
So, let’s see how you can paint your valve cover, and then we’ll move towards the kind of paint to use on the valve cover.
First of all, start with removing the valve cover using the ratchet and socket. You will mostly find one bolt/corner in valve covers, but there can also be more. And at times, you may have to remove seals and spark plug covers as well. After removing the valve cover, take a look at the gasket around it. If it isn't in good condition, replace it with a new one before choosing a valve cover paint.
The valve cover, after its removal must be kept in an area where there is proper ventilation available. And don't forget to put on safety goggles and gloves. Use paper towels or any such thing for wiping the paint stripper. This is done to prepare the stripper to remove the already present paint from the valve cover. After that, wash the cover properly with water in order to remove the paint stripper completely. And don't forget to dry it before proceeding further.
Use a sandpaper then for making the surface of the valve cover dull and smooth. Also, properly rub it against the corners as well. Wipe the valve cover's surface, then using a grease remover, you can use wax as well. This will help in the removal of fingerprints and dust. If you aren't willing to paint a few holes on the cover, you can hide them by placing masking tape. Cover every single hole in order to avoid the clogging of threads with the paint. After that, trim the tape carefully using a razor blade.
It's time to buy a "High-Heat Paint" from an Auto Parts Store and start spraying it on the valve cover. It won't take more than four coats of paint to get the job done completely. Wait for a day at least to start proceeding further.
In order for setting the paint, place the cover close to a heated source. A 100℃ temperature for 20 minutes will make the things easy. Or if you don't have an oven available at your place, use a heat gun instead. But don't forget to take precautionary measures into account such as wearing gloves. Just reinstall the cover and see whether the engine is working perfectly or not.
The procedure for painting a valve cover is quite simple, but the thing to consider is that you cannot use any paint for this purpose. Rather, there are specific kinds of paints that you can use in this regard. Let's see what kind of paint will work well for your valve cover.
Using a specific paint for the valve cover is all about its stay in the long run. Sometimes, you might have seen the valve cover’s deteriorating surface after a few months of painting it. That’s not because the owner hasn’t taken good care of it (because everyone does). But that’s because the paint used for covering it wasn’t good enough to stay.
However, a spray paint works well in this regard. You can buy it from any online store and use it. Sometimes, this, too, doesn’t work well. The reason is that if the valve cover isn’t removed or cleaned properly, you cannot expect it to be painted in a better way. If the dust stays there before you start to paint it, the paint will cover some part of it while the rest will be wasted on the dust. So, even though the procedure is the same for every vehicle, from a simple loader to a V-8 model, you must remove the cover completely before painting.
As mentioned above, a “high temperature & heat resistant” spray paint is the best choice. You may also use a regular spray paint, but that may not work as effectively as the former would do. Once you are done with rinsing the valve cover and drying it to remove grease and dust, you can choose a color for your engine’s valve cover. Most professionals recommend to use “Engine Enamel” instead of a regular paint as your valve cover paint.
One of the things you must be wondering about is why we use high-temperature paint. It is because the valve covers are not easy to install in some vehicles. So, a heated paint with a smooth surface makes the perfect combo, and you can use that for your benefit.
Sometimes, thick paints work as insulators for holding some of the heat content. This may cause the engine to become overheated, which may lead to an explosion also. So, don’t use such a paint at any cost. Some spray paints tend to increase the cooling capacity also of the engines by handling the excess heat that enters them. Try to use such paints that make things easy for you rather than causing problems.
Whenever you plan to rebuild a motor, it is important to paint the engine block; the same is the case here. Using a special paint will not only enhance the appearance of the engine but will keep corrosion and rust away from it, which is what you actually want as the owner. You may also match the color of the engine with the vehicle to make it look more classy and adorable. But that doesn’t matter as long as your vehicle is in a suitable condition to work properly. Your ultimate goal must be to prevent the paint of the valve cover and the car also.
One of the best choices in this regard to be used for engines is Enamel Paint. These paints give a glossy and hard finish, and retention of the color is also really good. And another reason to use it is its heat resistance which is a must for any automotive engine. Besides, high temperature isn’t a condition as long as the humidity is low (less than 85%). The reason is that in humid environments, the paint doesn’t dry as quickly as it should be, which is why high temperatures are needed. So, if your area isn’t much humid, you may paint the valve cover at a low temperature also.
Using a metal that is exposed to flame isn’t recommended to be used at all, particularly if you have to spray it in an area where there is more wind or dust. Or, if you want to do it, cover the surrounding area completely before spraying it. For that reason, one of the best options is “Rust-Oleum Ultra High Heat Enamel Spray Paint”. It is best to be used for metal surfaces because of its durability and corrosion resistance. And this will take no more than 30 minutes if the valve cover is already dry.
Some people don’t dry the cover completely, and when they apply the paint, it either doesn’t stick to the cover properly or works for that dust only and not the cover. So, it is best to clean it properly with a chemical or any such thing so that you may apply the paint in order to make it stick to the cover for longer periods of time.
Cleaning of the valve cover is really important if you plan to paint it. But that’s not the only condition to follow. Proper ventilation after the removal of cover is also necessary. Also, you must check other parts as well to see if they are in a better position to work. If they aren’t, just replace them before reinstalling the cover. And don’t forget to take the safety measures into account because your health is more important than a car engine’s valve cover.
Apart from these things, cover the holes and cracks also that are present in the cover. All in all, you must take all the factors into account before choosing the kind of paint to use on the valve cover.