When you pop the hood on your car and go searching for your timing cover, it might take you a while to find it. Your timing cover is often going to be tucked away underneath a bunch of belts, fans, pulleys, and more. This can make it challenging to find it, and it can also make it challenging to know whether or not you might have an issue with your timing cover gasket.
You should keep an eye out for any issues with your timing cover gasket, though! The last thing you want is for your timing cover gasket to fail without you noticing it since it could lead to extensive engine problems down the line. Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about what a timing cover gasket is, what it does, and how you can tell when there’s something wrong with it. Continue reading to find out all about timing cover gaskets!
What Is a Timing Cover Gasket and What Does It Do?
Your car has what’s called a timing belt or chain in it that plays a key role in the overall operation of your engine. It connects the camshaft to the crankshaft in your engine and is responsible for making sure that the valves in your engine open and close at the right times. In doing so, your timing belt or chain allows for the internal combustion process to play out.
Problems can occur if dirt and debris are ever able to work their way into your engine and come into contact with your timing belt or chain. As a result, there is a timing cover that sits on top of your timing belt or chain to keep it clean. There is also a timing cover gasket that is designed to create a tight seal and stop dirt and debris in their tracks.
You shouldn’t experience too much trouble with your car’s timing cover gasket. But over time, it can begin to break down on you and that will stop it from forming the tight seal that your engine needs. You will, at that point, need to replace your timing cover gasket to stop it from allowing dirt and debris into your engine. If you don’t, it could cause complications with your timing belt or chain as well as other components inside of your engine.
What Causes a Timing Cover Gasket to Fail?
Your timing cover gasket is one of the many gaskets located inside of your car. And just like all of the other gaskets in your car, the heat that builds up in and around your engine can cause it to break down over time.
When a timing cover gasket is exposed to heat for too long, it can start to dry out on you and shrink. This will pull it apart from the surfaces that it sits on. It will also stop it from being able to form a tight seal and render your timing cover gasket virtually useless.
There is really no way to stop the heat from your engine from ruining your timing cover gasket. It’s going to be exposed to high temperatures almost every time you turn on your car. And while it’s built to last for a long time without wearing out on you, it’s eventually going to meet its demise and need to be replaced.
How Long Should a Timing Cover Gasket Last?
The good news for those who might be worried about their timing cover gasket is that it isn’t a part that’s going to break down on you very often. Generally speaking, you should be able to get around 100,000 miles out of it before it begins posing any problems. And your timing cover should last even longer than that.
You should, however, be aware of what you should look out for when it comes to a bad timing cover gasket. Because even though most timing cover gaskets last for 100,000 miles, there are some that are going to give out on car owners earlier than that. If you live in a place where it gets very hot and you constantly expose your car to harsh driving conditions, it could result in your car’s timing cover gasket wearing out on you sooner than expected.
The 4 Most Common Signs of a Bad Timing Cover Gasket
As we alluded to a few minutes ago, you’re not necessarily going to be able to just pop the hood of your car and check on your timing cover gasket. It’s often difficult to get down to your timing cover, and even if you’re able to do it, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to be able to see your timing cover gasket.
But there are going to be some signs that you’ll start to see when your timing cover gasket is bad. You shouldn’t ever ignore these signs since doing so could eventually lead to further problems with your engine as a whole. You’ll want to replace your timing cover gasket right away if you see the signs. Check them out below.
1. Oil Leaking From Your Timing Cover
Have you noticed that oil has started to leak out of the bottom of your car? This should always be a major cause for concern with regards to your car. There are all kinds of reasons why you might spot oil leaking from your car, and it’s important for you to get to the bottom of it sooner rather than later to stop an oil leak in its track.
If it appears as though you have oil leaking from the front part of your engine, this is sometimes going to be a sign that you have a bad timing cover gasket. In this case, you are going to want to try to identify where your timing cover is and see if there is any oil coming out of it.
You could very well find that it’s the timing cover itself that has gone bad and needs to be replaced. Some timing covers can crack and start to leak oil when they do. But more often than not, oil leaking from your timing cover is going to be a clear-cut sign that you have a timing cover gasket that is past its expiration date. You’ll want to have it replaced as soon as possible to prevent any more oil from working its way out of your car.
2. A Knocking Sound Emanating From Your Engine
Is your car making a knocking sound when you drive it down the road? This is another thing that should always serve as a big red flag for you. There aren’t many instances in which a knocking noise is going to be a good thing. Oftentimes, it’s going to be an indication that there is some kind of serious issue within your engine.
You might hear your engine knocking if:
- You don’t have the right fuel in your car
- You have carbon deposits in your engine that are preventing it from burning your fuel efficiently
- Your spark plugs have gone bad
A knocking sound coming from your engine and, in particular, the front of your engine could also be the result of a bad timing cover gasket. When your timing cover gasket is bad, it’s sometimes going to lead to your timing cover moving around way more than it should. It might even bump against your engine and cause the knocking sound in question.
3. Your Motor Running Rougher Than Usual
We touched briefly on how dangerous it can be when dirt and debris are able to make their way into your engine due to a bad timing cover gasket. But we should emphasize that point again since it’s a very real possibility for those with bad timing cover gaskets.
When your timing cover gasket isn’t able to do its job, dirt and debris can get into your engine and cause it to run rougher than it should. Your car might even start backfiring if enough dirt and debris are able to get into your engine and wreak havoc on it.
And in a worst-case scenario, you’re going to be left with an engine that fails on you completely. This is obviously going to put you in a tough spot because you’re going to end up with a car that you can’t drive because of something as small as a bad timing cover gasket.
The first time you notice your car running rougher than it’s supposed to, you should have a mechanic check out your timing cover and timing cover gasket to see what kind of condition they’re in. They could be to blame for the situation and might need to be replaced to remedy it.
4. Your Check Engine Light Coming On Unexpectedly
If you have a bad timing cover gasket in your car, it’s often going to lead to your oil pressure dipping. Your car’s main computer should pick up on this almost right away and let you know about it by turning your check engine light on.
Unfortunately, many people have gotten into the habit of ignoring their check engine light turning on, especially if they don’t sense any issues with their car. But you don’t want to do this if you have a bad timing cover gasket. You should continue to look out for the other signs of a bad timing cover gasket and take your car in for service ASAP.
Should You Drive a Car With a Bad Timing Cover Gasket?
When your car’s timing cover gasket first fails on you, you might be able to get away with continuing to drive it around. The oil in your car won’t start pouring out of it or anything when you have a small leak in your timing cover.
But the situation is going to turn into a serious one pretty fast. Within just a few days, your timing cover gasket will fail on you completely and start to let oil leak out almost all the time. It’ll also put your engine’s components into a precarious position and potentially put your entire engine at risk.
It’s why you should try not to drive around with a bad timing cover gasket for any longer than you have it. If you suspect that there might be something wrong with your timing cover gasket, replacing it right away should be your only option.
How Much Does a Timing Cover Gasket Replacement Cost?
You’ll be happy to know that both timing covers and timing cover gaskets are relatively inexpensive in the grand scheme of things. You can usually find both of them for under $100. But you’re not going to be happy to hear about the labor costs associated with replacing a bad timing cover gasket. It could end up breaking the bank for you!
It’s not out of the ordinary for mechanics to charge upwards of $500 for labor alone when it comes to timing cover gasket replacement. Reason being, it’s not that easy for them to get to the timing cover gaskets in most cars. They have to remove a bunch of other parts to be able to access them, and that can drive the price up.
With this in mind, you might not want to pay to have a bad timing cover gasket replaced in an older car. You might be better off getting rid of the car as opposed to trying to put a new timing cover gasket into place in it.
Can You Sell a Car With a Bad Timing Cover Gasket?
If you just discovered that you have a bad timing cover gasket in your car and you don’t want to pay to have it fixed, Cash Cars Buyer can show you how to sell it! We make it so simple for people to sell older cars that they don’t want anymore, even if they have issues like bad timing cover gasket.
Here’s how to sell your car to us:
- Let us know the make and model of your car, the year your car was manufactured, and the total number of miles on your car
- Give us a little while to process your information and come up with a fair offer for you
- Consider the offer that we make to you and let us know if you would like to accept it
- Schedule a place and time for us to pick up your car and give you your cash if you choose to sell us your car
Once you find out how easy it is to sell an old car to Cash Cars Buyer, you’ll wonder why you ever considered shelling out money for a new timing cover gasket. Contact us today to get the process underway.