Valve Cover Gasket Buyer's Guide
- A valve cover gasket seals the gap between the valve cover and the cylinder head.
- The common types of valve cover gaskets usually use silicon rubber or cork.
- Silicon rubber valve cover gaskets are the most common ones you can find. They are durable, easy to install and replace.
- On the other hand, cork-type variants provide a much stronger and tighter seal. However, these gaskets are harder to install compared to rubber variants.
- Aside from visible leaks, symptoms of a faulty valve cover gasket may include a burnt oil smell, dirty valve cover, and low engine oil.
- A typical valve cover gasket replacement costs around $50 to $250. To ensure that you are getting the right fit, enter your vehicle’s year, make, and model into our search engine.
Oil leaks are one of the many nightmares you as a car owner may face. Although this symptom may originate from other faulty engine components, it often stems from a faulty or leaking valve cover gasket.
Valve cover gaskets are often unappreciated or forgotten, but if you come to think of it, they are just as vital as the other components inside your engine. Each car part plays a vital role in keeping your engine in good running condition at all times.
In this article, you will learn more about valve cover gaskets and the symptoms that could indicate one needs a replacement.
What is a valve cover gasket?
Your vehicle’s valve covers attach to the top of the cylinder head. They need seals to prevent oil from coming out of the engine. This is where the role of the valve cover gasket comes in.
To put it simply, a valve cover gasket seals the gap between the valve cover and the cylinder head. Gaskets prevent vehicle oil from leaking as it flows through different engine components such as camshafts, rockers, and valves.
The number of valve cover gaskets installed in your vehicle will greatly depend on your vehicle’s year, make, and model. Usually, a vehicle may come with either one or two valve cover gaskets, depending on its configuration.
What are the types of valve cover gaskets?
There are many types of valve cover gaskets available in the market today. Most valve cover gaskets use silicon rubber or cork. What are the pros and cons of buying rubber and cork gaskets?
Silicon Rubber vs Cork Valve Cover Gaskets
Most vehicles come equipped with silicon rubber gaskets. Silicon rubber gaskets are easy to fit, install, or replace, making it a recommendable choice. Although rubber materials shrink over time, silicon rubber gaskets are durable enough to seal your valve covers. As a plus factor, silicon rubber gaskets are less prone to damage.
On the other hand, cork valve cover gaskets are also a suitable option. Since they use cork, they can seal valve covers tightly and strongly, compared to their other counterparts. However, unlike silicon rubber, cork valve cover gaskets are difficult to install. They can easily disintegrate when installing, especially when tightening the bolts, making installing one a laborious job. Cork-type gaskets are also difficult to reuse once they get removed.
Other Valve Cover Gasket Variants
Aside from these two commonly used materials, there are other variants available in the market made of different or combinations of materials such as those made of laminated cork and rubber-coated fiber. Composite gaskets are also becoming popular because of their heat-resistance property.
The choices for cork valve cover gaskets may be overwhelming. But aside from considering the materials used for your valve cover gasket replacement, you must also take into consideration other important factors such as the gaskets’ compatibility with your valve covers.
What to Look for in a Valve Cover Gasket
To help you trim down your options, here are two things you should consider when looking for a valve cover gasket replacement:
Since valve cover gaskets seal your valve covers, it is important to choose gaskets that are durable and made of high-quality materials. This will lessen your problem of oil leaks coming from damaged or pinched valve cover gaskets. Although it is unavoidable for these gaskets to deteriorate over time, at least buying a durable one will extend the lifespan of your valve cover gasket.
Value for Money
Aside from durability, you must also consider if your valve cover gasket is worth your money. High-quality and durable valve cover gaskets do not necessarily mean it is priced high. Many high-quality valve cover gaskets sell at an equally reasonable price.
When should I replace a valve cover gasket?
You should only replace your valve cover gaskets if it is leaking. Replace leaking or damaged valve cover gaskets immediately to avoid further damaging other engine components.
Usually, the “check engine light” will illuminate once it senses that there is something wrong with your vehicle’s valve cover gasket. But how would you know that it is the valve cover gasket that is faulty? Here are some other symptoms associated with a faulty valve cover gasket:
Burnt Oil Smell
One of the most common symptoms of a faulty valve cover gasket is burnt oil smell and, sometimes, visible smoke coming from the exhaust manifold. They come from oil leaks that burn in your vehicle’s exhaust manifold instead of the engine. Usually, these leaks appear in cracks in the valve cover gasket.
Low Engine Oil
If your vehicle has an oil leak, then you will most definitely have lesser engine oil running in your vehicle’s engine. Low engine oil levels is a cause for concern because it can lead to engine overheating. Motor oil lubricates certain engine components and lesser oil will mean less lubrication of these components, causing excessive heat to build up.
To avoid further damage, have your vehicle checked by your trusted mechanic. Ignoring the problem will only lead to more excessive engine damage.
Dirty Valve Cover
When bringing your vehicle to the service center for an oil change, it is advisable to take advantage of this situation to check the condition of other engine components such as the valve cover. If your valve cover is dirty, it means that oil is leaking out of the gasket. Have your valve cover gasket replaced right away.
Visible Oil Leaks
Aside from those mentioned above, visible oil leaks are also one of the most obvious signs that your valve cover gasket needs replacement. However, since oil leaks may also originate in other engine components, it is best to have your vehicle checked by a trusted professional. If it isn’t your valve cover gasket that is causing the problem, chances are there is something else wrong with your engine, causing motor oil to leak out.
How much is a valve cover gasket replacement?
A usual valve cover gasket replacement will cost you around $50 to $250, depending on the type of gasket, the brand, and the material used. They may get sold as an individual part, in sets, or as part of a kit. When purchasing one, make sure to check the product specification to avoid getting the wrong part for your vehicle.
Finding the right fit
There are many types of valve cover gaskets available in the market today. To ensure that you are getting the right fit, enter the correct year, make, and model into our search engine. Click search and browse through our wide selection of high-quality valve cover gaskets. Choose the one that is most compatible with your vehicle’s valve cover.
Tips for Buyers: Guide to the Right Valve Cover Gasket for Your Car
With all the moving parts and flowing fluids inside your car, it’s no wonder why there are leaks or seepage under its hood. To protect all the other parts of your engine, and to decrease fluid wastage, gaskets are there to help. One of these gaskets is the valve cover gasket between the engine cylinder head and the valve cover. With the different kinds of valve cover gaskets available, which one is best for your car? To help you choose the right valve cover gasket, here’s an overview of the materials used for gaskets:
Silicon rubber valve cover gasket
Silicon rubber gaskets are the most common type of valve cover gaskets on cars today. If your car rolled out of the factory with this type of gasket, it’s best to stick to the same material once it needs replacing. Valve cover gaskets made of silicon are reusable and easier to fit. Although the material shrinks with age, it’s highly durable and less prone to breakage. Silicon rubber gaskets are also perfect for many classic cars. It is easy to remove and replace and can get adjusted, which allows it to fit most outdated valve covers.
Cork valve cover gaskets
If you’re looking for a valve cover gasket with a stronger seal, a cork-based gasket will be your best bet. Unlike other materials that merely stop the oil from leaking out, this kind of material can soak up most of it. However, be very careful when handling cork-type valve cover gaskets. They can easily disintegrate when tightening the bolts, and if you don’t handle the job with care, it may mean re-doing the installation. Another disadvantage of using cork valve cover gaskets is that they can be difficult to reuse once removed. They can dry out and crack out.
Other types of valve cover gaskets
There are also gaskets made from other materials such as laminated cork. A reinforced version of the cork-type gasket, laminated cork makes use of a metal gasket with cork on both sides, which offers a far stronger and more durable gasket.
You can also consider a rubber-coated fiber valve cover gasket. Adding fiber to the rubber gasket enables it to absorb oil, just like the cork-type gasket, while retaining the flexibility of silicon rubber.
Lastly, the most modern type is the composite gasket. Out of all the types of valve cover gaskets (based on material used), composite gaskets are probably the most durable. They also have the best resistance to heat, which makes them the most expensive.
Installing a New Valve Cover Gasket
Gaskets protect the moving parts of your car. One of the most important examples is the valve cover gasket that protects your engine from oil and water leaks. So the next time you find a leak in your engine manifold, here’s a step-by-step guide to replacing your valve cover gasket:
Difficulty level: Easy
Things you’ll need:
- Socket wrench
- Putty knife
- Screw driver
- Gasket sealer
- New valve cover gasket
- Dry paper towel
Step 1: Once you’ve lifted your hood, locate your valve cover. Your valve cover is relatively easy to find. It is the part that covers your engine block.
Step 2: Before removing your valve cover, make sure you’ve unplugged any, and all, of the wires connected to your engine and valves. Unscrew all the bolts that hold the cover in place. After you’ve removed all bolts and wires from your engine block, your valve cover should lift right up. In case you can’t take it out, pry the lid off by wedging a screwdriver along one of its sides. Work your way carefully around the base and lift it.
Step 3: Now that you’ve removed your valve cover, you’ll see a rubber or cork lining in the edges of your engine block. If you still spot some remaining gasket sealers around your valve cover gasket, scrape it off using a putty knife. Remove your valve cover gasket, making sure no material falls into your valve.
Step 4: Re-apply the gasket sealer around your engine block. It should be about 1/8-inch thick to cover the entire surface. Wipe off any excess sealer and let it set for a few minutes. Wait until it gets slightly tacky before you fit your new gasket. Apply another layer of sealer on top of your newly installed gasket.
Step 5: Reinstall your valve cover once the second layer of sealer has set. Make sure that you’ve cleaned the insides of your cover before reinstalling it on your engine block. Bolt the nuts and reconnect the wires to secure your cover perfectly.
Step 6: Run your car for a few minutes to test your new valve cover gasket.