Your vehicle requires regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance. One component many vehicles have that requires routine service is the positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve.
The PCV valve is a component on the upper portion of your engine that’s designed to vent the crankcase and reduce vehicle emissions. What does a PCV valve do? It draws high-pressure combustion gases (known as blow-by) from the crankcase and directs them into the intake manifold to be burned inside the engine. .
A lack of regular maintenance regarding your PCV valve can eventually lead to issues, such as oil consumption, oil leaks, a rough idle, and oil in the air cleaner housing. To avoid this, consider replacing this component.
PCV Valve Replacement: How-To
Replacing a bad PCV valve is typically an easy, inexpensive task that could help prevent more expensive problems later on. If you find yourself with a PCV valve that’s due for replacement, below are the necessary steps you should take to swap it out.
Note: The following are general guidelines for educational purposes only. For repair instructions specific to your vehicle, please consult a repair manual or a repair database. Follow the recommended safety procedures to replace your PCV valve without a hitch.
Tools You’ll Need to Replace the PCV Valve
- Replacement PCV Valve
- Basic automotive tools
- Repair manual
- As needed: PCV valve hose, valve cover grommets
PCV Valve Replacement Instructions
- Locate your PCV valve.
- If your PCV valve is held in place by a rubber grommet, you can pull the valve out by hand. Other PCV valves are threaded in. For the latter, use a wrench or ratchet to unscrew the valve.
- Remove the valve and check the hose. If you see any damage to the hose, consider replacing it as well.
- If the rubber grommet also appears worn or damaged, a replacement is in order.
- Screw in the new valve by hand or push it through the rubber grommet (depending on the vavle’s design). If the valve is threaded in, use a wrench or ratchet to tighten it down until it’s snug. Do NOT overtighten it.
- Reconnect the hose.
- Start the engine and make sure everything looks okay.
How Do You Test a PCV Valve?
The easiest way to check your PCV valve is to shake it after taking it out. In most cases, if it does not make a metal rattling sound when shaken, it’s faulty and needs to be replaced.
On the other hand, if the valve makes a rattling sound, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good because the spring inside could still be weak. Since, typically, PCV valves are inexpensive, you should replace yours if there’s any doubt as to whether it’s still functioning well.
Furthermore, you should always replace the PCV valve according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended service schedule.
How Do You Know If the PCV Valve is Bad?
There are several signs that could indicate a failing PCV valve. Here are the most common bad PCV valve symptoms you should look out for:
- Buildup of sludge in the engine
- Oil leaks
- Low whining or whistling sound
- Oil in the air filter housing
- Check engine light on (codes P0171 and P0174 could be activated)
- Increase in internal engine pressure/engine surge
- Gray-white smoke
- Oil consumption
- Rough idle
If these symptoms are left unchecked, they could easily lead to engine failure or complications that could affect your vehicle’s drivability later on. Replacing your PCV valve is an easy, inexpensive, and low-risk preventative maintenance measure you can do. Avoid expensive repairs later on by addressing these symptoms today and replacing your faulty PCV valve.
How Often Should You Replace Your PCV Valve?
A faulty PCV valve can damage your engine if left unchecked. You should always replace the valve at the interval suggested by the vehicle manufacturer. You can find this information in the service schedule listed in your owner’s manual. Additionally, if you notice any symptom of a failing PCV valve, consider replacing it right away.
Note: Not all vehicles have a traditional PCV valve. Some have a calibrated orifice or oil/vapor separator instead.
How Much Does a PCV Valve Replacement Cost?
The cost of a PCV valve replacement depends on your vehicle’s year, make, and model. The location of your PCV valve and its brand can also affect its pricing. A replacement part can cost you anywhere between $100 and $250.
Meanwhile, if you were to have your vehicle serviced in auto servicing shops, labor costs can easily exceed $100.
If you’re confident in your DIY skills and want to save on time and money, you can replace the PCV valve yourself. All you have to do is follow the appropriate instructions and prepare all the tools and components needed to facilitate the repair.
Maintaining Your PCV Valve
To avoid costly repairs in the future, consider adding your vehicle’s PCV system to your maintenance routine. Though some car manufacturers suggest servicing the system every 20,000 to 50,000 miles, this is not a standard set in stone. It’s different for every vehicle, so to be sure, a frequent system inspection is the best option to keep your engine performing at top condition.
Preventive maintenance, including routine oil changes, can positively impact the durability of your PCV valve.
Remember to always consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions on maintenance.