Quick Tips when Shopping for a New Valve Cover Bolt
The valve cover is placed under a lot of stress. Just imagine all the heat and pressure under the hood, and you can see why the valve cover's fasteners may break or tear apart over time. Because of the harsh environment it's exposed to, the valve cover bolt can get warped or may be bent out of shape. When this happens, the cover won't be able to seal the valve properly. Because the cover is often made of lightweight materials, a warped bolt can ruin the cover itself. And as a result, the fluid may leak. The vehicle's performance can go from wow to sour. Under-hood operation doesn't have to be messed up by fluid leaks. To keep the valve cover secure and in place, you have to replace the old bolt and get a new one. Here's how:
What type of bolt does your valve cover need?
Before you go shopping for a new valve cover bolt, figure out what type of bolt will match the valve cover of your vehicle. The bolts come in different types or style. As you search for a valve cover bolt, some of the options you'll come across include the T-bar style hold down bolts, studs, and wing nut valve cover fastener style. Some may come with a bullet tip design that helps keep the cover gasket in position while setting the cover over the studs. Others are made with extra-long threads to allow for easy removal. Valve cover bolts come with different features and designs, so know which type would fit the cover.
Will the bolt fit?
The bolt may be designed as a direct fit, although some come in a universal design. To find bolts that match the cover and fit perfectly, take note of the bolt specs such as the overall length, thread size, and head style. These will vary. The head style, for instance, can come in these variants: Allen, T-bar, button, hex, or Y-top head style. Check the valve cover specs and make sure that whatever style of bolt you get, this seals the cover properly.
What other crucial bolt specs should you consider?
The bolt can be made of rigid steel or lightweight aluminum. This can be chrome- or zinc-plated or may have a clear anodized finish. The bolt can be purchased per piece to replace the missing or broken fastener or can be bought as a kit (set of 2, 4, or 8). Check what's exactly included in the kit or set. Some would include self-locking hex flange nuts to also help seal the gasket; others come with washers. In some sets, washers and hold-down tabs aren't included. While some bolts are made to replace the factory fasteners or designed to meet the OEM specifications, there are those that come with features for easy removal and for complementing thicker gaskets. Bolt sets may have fasteners in varied sizes meant to fit different engines.
What else could you buy aside from the bolt?
As you check the bolt, also take a look at the condition of the valve cover and the other fasteners and seals such as the gasket, grommet, and hold-down tab. If these are no longer be in their best shape, you might as well replace them.