Five Signs That Your Valve Cover Is Not Working (Also, Replacement Costs)

It is essential that the engine be completely sealed in order to function properly. A valve cover or gasket is used to seal the engine. 

However, over time, the gasket and valve cover can’t endure the stress that causes it to fail. The valve parts are not protected if the cover isn't in place. Thankfully, this part doesn’t fail regularly, so it’s not something that needs to be replaced often. 

We will be discussing the causes of poor valve covers and how to fix them. Here’s a quick overview of the signs to look for

An oil leakage from the engine is one of the most obvious signs that a valve cover has failed. An oil leak can be easily detected by checking the level of your engine oil or feeling a burning sensation while driving. Also, a bad valve cover could cause misfires.

This is a detailed listing of symptoms that indicate a defective valve cover.

Índice de Contenido
  1. Bad Valve Cover Syndromes
    1. 1. Leaking Oil
    2. 2. Low Oil Levels
    3. 3. Burning Oil Smell
    4. 4. Misfiring Engine
    5. 5. Dashboard Lights
  2. A Valve Cover's Function
  3. Valve Cover Location
  4. Repair of valve cover

Bad Valve Cover Syndromes

1. Leaking Oil

Oil Leak On Floor

It’s never a good sign to see leaking oil. This simple sign can indicate many malfunctions.

The oil should not be found on or near the valve covers. Check the edges where the gasket covers the engine.

Initially, the leak might be small and slowly drip onto the ground. It could eventually grow larger and cover the entire valve cover. The cover can also become clogged with dirt and other debris.

Letting the oil leak from the cover of the valve can lead to further damage to belts and hoses. You don’t want to wait to have it replaced. 

READ ALSO: Ten Reasons Engine Oil Leaks

2. Low Oil Levels

Engine Oil Dipstick

Regular oil level checks are essential if you want to take care of your engine. You can assume that the oil has gone somewhere if the level is still low. 

You should inspect the valve cover to see if there are any signs of oil leaking that you may have overlooked. You should ensure that the motor is lubricated before replacing the cover. Otherwise, you may end up paying a lot of money for repairs.

3. Burning Oil Smell

Bad Fuel Odor Smell E1609793024317

Burning oil is a sign that you need to be concerned. Oil leaking from the valve cover could drip onto your hot engine parts or the exhaust, causing a bad odor. 

The smell of oil should not be overwhelming when you open your hood. However, you may not immediately see the source. It is possible to get into a dangerous situation. 

Reported: Why Your Car After Driving Smells Like Burning Rubber

4. Misfiring Engine


Many factors can cause a misfiring engine, including defective spark plugs and problems with the fuel system. Bad valve covers could be another reason for a misfiring engine.

It could also be placed directly on top of the engine spark plugs. The valve cover could be placed directly over the engine spark plugs to prevent oil from leaking into them. It can block the spark plugs' ability to work properly, and even cause them foul.

When the spark plugs can’t ignite the air/fuel mixture, it causes the engine to misfire. Not only can this lead to a very rough ride, but it’s also possible to have an engine fire. 

RELATED: 6 Reasons Engine Oil is on Spark Plugs

5. Dashboard Lights

Dashboard Warning Lights

If you haven’t been checking the oil regularly, your first sign that something is wrong might be warning lights on the dashboard. 

You could get the Oil Warning Light telling you that there’s not enough oil pressure in the system, or it could be the Check Engine Light because of defects from the broken valve cover and gasket. These lights are a sign of serious conditions and should be stopped immediately. 

A Valve Cover's Function

Valve Cover And Gasket

Valve covers protect the engine's vital parts. It’s responsible for covering the valves, thereby protecting the expensive machinery from damage and the elements. But, it can become misaligned or corroded and even cracks. 

To provide an engine seal, the valve cover is used in conjunction with the gasket. The rubber strip, which is thin and flexible, sits between the cover gasket and engine. The gasket, which is thinner than the cover, can be more fragile and prone to being damaged. It can crack or become brittle over time due to heat, age and wear. 

Valve Cover Location

Valve Cover Location

You will find the valve cover on top of an engine. The valve cover is a protective hard covering that covers the engine's parts and protects them. The gasket seals the gap between the engine and valve covers. 

The valve cover gasket should always be replaced because it is less likely that the gasket will fail. The valve cover cover must be taken off in order to access the valve gasket. 

Repair of valve cover

Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, an average replacement valve cover gasket cost will run between $90 to $400. A new valve cover gasket can be purchased for as low as $40-$50, although most of that cost is due to labor. It will cost you between $50 to $350 to replace your valve cover gasket. 

Unless the valve cover has received extensive damage, it shouldn’t need to be replaced. Most likely, it’s only the valve cover gasket that needs removal. 

You will need to remove the valve cover in order for the gasket to be replaced. The labor costs for both a replacement gasket and a new valve cover will be the same.

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