BMW 318i Valve Cover Gasket: Most Common Signs of Failure and Quick Fix Solutions
Even a top-of-the-line BMW 318i depends on something as simple as a valve cover gasket to stay clean. Since your engine is a powerful and very dirty piece of equipment, left to its own devices, it's likely to fling oil and a lot of other nasty substances around under the hood of your car. With a gasket providing a strong seal, all of this is prevented because it not only keeps the pressure and heat in, but it also prevents oil and other waste by-products of the engine process from flying around all over the place. In order to always have this handy part in place and functioning properly, it's important to look out for the warning signs that trouble is just around the corner.
Nasty oil all over the place
The primary visible function of the valve cover gasket is to make sure that lubricating oil that might seep out from the engine stays within the engine. Remember, this oil is hot and can damage a lot of surrounding components if not kept inside the engine. A severe oil leak is likely to be seen on the floor of your garage-or wherever you park-under the area where your engine is held in place. A less serious leak will only manifest around the area of your gasket and on the surface of your engine. Apart from cleaning it up-which is the obvious first step-you should apply epoxy putty in the area affected. In fact, if possible, it might be a better idea to simply replace the whole gasket.
Overheats-without an overheating engine
When you notice that the temperature gauge reads a high and hot measurement, but the engine is working fine without choking up, then the valve cover gasket might be letting some hot air out from the engine. This raises the ambient temperature under the hood to even higher levels than it normally would be. Again, it's all about finding and plugging the leak with a little epoxy putty. One thing you have to remember, though: do this after you let the engine cool down a bit!
Tiptop Tips for Keeping your Bmw 318i Valve Cover Gasket in Tiptop Shape
Even on a classy car like BMW 318i, your engine is a nasty, dirty little thing. Left on its own, it will likely splatter that area under your hood with hot, burning oil, as well as fill the space with nasty and dirty exhaust fumes. This is where the valve cover gasket comes in-it covers a wide area within the inner workings of your engine and, not only does it keep oil and other waste by-products of the engine process from splattering all over the place, it also helps seal the pressures and heat within the engine for proper management. If you look at it, it's actually a very thin little part that you would normally by-pass in inspections. As you might imagine, however, it's very important to keep it in tiptop shape all the time. Here are the simple ways how:
Check for cracks, and seal it immediately.
The most common damage that you encounter with the valve cover gasket-or any gasket, for that matter-is the material wearing down and cracking over time. It's something that simply can't be helped as the engine does give off a lot of heat, and the materials that form the gasket are prone to becoming brittle over time. This is not something that's likely to happen too quickly. That's why constant monitoring is a definite must. The minute that you notice the cracks starting to form, you have to act quickly. Application of a little epoxy putty is enough to cover most seals. In the long-term, however, it is a better idea to simply replace the gasket as it won't cost you too much.
Wipe away all the oil.
While cleaning parts is a very important component of good maintenance, we're not talking about warm water and soap when it comes to the valve cover gasket. All you really need is a clean rag. Carefully pat-not wipe-any oil residue from the gasket every week or so. When heated up-as when the engine is running-this can potentially speed up the wearing out of the gasket itself.