To best determine how much it is going to cost in order to replace your valve cover gasket, we must first understand what the valve cover gasket is, signs and symptoms of a faulty valve cover gasket, the repair or replacement process, and most importantly, the total valve cover gasket price. The average cost for replacing this mechanism is around $365 for the total valve cover gasket price.
What is a valve cover gasket?
The valve cover gasket is an important part of your car’s fuel system that goes over the top portion of the engine cylinder head. This gasket prevents any oil or fuel from leaking out of the engine as it travels around the camshafts, rockers, and valves. Also, the cover gasket is in charge of sealing off numerous spark plug ports to keep them protected and prevent spark plug fluid leaks.
In the majority of modern cars on the market today, there are two main types of cover gaskets that you will find in cars – either liquid gaskets or formed rubber gaskets. The type of gasket that you have in your vehicle is determined by the type of material used in the formation of the valve cover gasket and how much pressure it puts on the seal it is covering.
By the valve cover keeping the gasket compressed, this prevents leaks, being the cover gaskets overall job in the car. Over time, however, the gasket can become faulty and damaged due to the high amount of engine heat or the bolts loosening over time, causing the gasket to become brittle and cause an engine oil leak.
Let’s see the signs of when you should replace a valve cover gasket and how to recognize the issues in your car.
When should I replace a valve cover gasket?
When you first realize that you have a faulty or damaged valve cover gasket and you will need to pay for a complete repair and valve cover gasket price, you will have to take action quickly before the issue gets worse. As with most problems in a car, if you let it sit for longer it can negatively affect other parts of your vehicle, so it is best you address the issue right away. Thankfully with this type of problem regarding your valve cover gasket, there are many symptoms that will show themselves as the issue is getting worse – like these ones below.
Since the valve cover is in charge of protecting and keeping a lid on so much compressed oil that would otherwise spill out of the engine, one small tiny crack or hole in the valve cover gasket leads to a lot of oil spilling through the cracks and falling onto other parts of the engine, causing a burning smell. There could be oil that has spilled onto the exhaust pipes or cylinder head, which causes the oil to burn excessively and damage the other components of the engine, thereby increasing the total valve cover gasket price.
If you have oil seepage or dripping, then this is a cause of the burning smell. If the joint between the valve cover and cylinder head fails to continue working or develops a crack, oil will then become visible on the wall of the valve cover or on the cylinder heads themselves on the engine. The oil will then hold dirt, causing the valve cover gasket to become dirty and increasing the total valve cover gasket price.
In addition, oil can accumulate inside of the spark plug well, which can be a cause of the burning smell. Since the spark plug seals are a huge part of the valve cover sealing system, if one of these leaks, you will then see the oil on the spark plugs or wires, requiring a replacement of the tube seals, increasing the total valve cover gasket price you will have to pay.
Lastly, oil leakage can occur at the rubber grommets, which is where the bolts holding the valve cover attached to the cylinder head are connected.
Low Engine Oil
When you have an oil leak in your valve cover gasket, this therefore means that you will have less oil available to burn or use in your engine for driving. This will cause more friction inside of the engine with the moving components of the mechanical process of your engine, since the oil won’t be there to lubricate the mechanical process and cause more heat buildup. If there is too much heat generated within your engine without enough oil, it will then cause the engine to overheat. This process of engine overheating could possibly damage the engine parts to the point where you would need a full engine replacement, costing a lot more than just the valve cover gasket price that you will have to pay.
Check Engine Light
If you have a low amount of oil within your engine, then another problem besides ending overheating will also be that the dashboard warning light might come on that you really don’t want to see – the Check Engine warning light. Be sure that when this light comes on you figure out the direct cause of the light illuminating, since this light can come on for many reasons.
Your check engine light might not necessarily mean that you need to pay to fix the valve cover gasket price, but you should do some research to figure out what reason it came on. The light would come on due to oxygen sensor failure, Catalytic converter failure, spark plug and ignition coil issues, bad spark plug wires, mass airflow sensor failure, issues with an aftermarket alarm, vacuum leak, dead battery, and the valve cover gasket being damaged.
Since this is one of the first symptoms that you will notice with the valve cover gasket being damaged, you should take the warning and fix the cause and problem before it damages many other parts and increases the total replacement cost for the valve cover gasket price.
Dirty Valve Cover
When you decide it is finally time to give your car an oil change, make sure you take note of the valve cover condition and see if it is dirty or clean. Make sure you change your oil according to the type of oil you use, the driving conditions, and the car you have. Do not wait any longer than 7,500 miles before changing your oil and inspecting the valve cover gasket condition.
If you notice that your valve cover is dirty, then this means that oil is leaking out of the valve cover gasket due to a damaged cover and that you will need to replace the gasket. Replace the gasket rfirst and then continue with changing your oil in the car. If you do not feel comfortable doing this yourself or you want a second opinion, go to a professional mechanic shop and have the service person do the oil change and the gasket replacement for you, even though this will increase the valve cover gasket price.
How To Replace A Valve Cover Gasket
Although taking your car to a mechanic office to get the valve cover gasket replacement done will increase the total cost of the valve cover gasket price, this is many times necessary if you do not have the skills and tools to do it yourself. Lets see the steps to replacing a valve cover gasket.
First, you need to remove the engine cover. The mechanic will have to remove the plastic engine cover to access the valve cover. Next, they will remove the necessary components. On most 4 cylinder engines, the valve cover can usually be reached after any electrical parts and emission control tubing is removed out of the way, along with any accelerator linkages that might be in the way of the valve cover.
On other modern cars that contain more powerful engines that are 6 or 8-cylinders, you might have to remove the air intake plenum. The intake plenum is part of your vehicle’s intake manifold that contains various individual tubes called runners, all of which extend out of the plenum.
Third, the mechanic will have to remove the valve cover. Once the valve cover is able to access and the mechanic can fully get to every single part of the cover, the retaining bolts on the valve cover are removed and the cover is pulled off. The valve cover sealing surface is analyzed with a straight edge to make sure that the cover can be reused again. If the valve cover can’t be reused, then you will have to get a replacement valve cover, which will increase the valve cover gasket price.
Next, the mechanic will finally install the new gasket. The new valve cover gasket is installed in tandem with a new rubber grommet that is under the retaining bolt heads, in order to keep the bolt heads in place. Many times the mechanic will also replace the spark plug tube seals, and also add oil resistant room temperature vulcanization, or RTV, to the segments of the sealing surface to make sure the seal is complete, secure, and can hold the cover on securely. The cover is then bolted back on and all of the other components that were previously removed to access the valve cover are reinstalled in their same spot, ensuring that all of the components are back inside.
Lastly, the mechanic will check for leaks to make sure the replacement process went well. He will perform a visual check for any oil leaks while the car engine is running. If the problem persists, this could enhance your total valve cover gasket price, as the mechanic will have to go back in and see what is wrong with the car.
Benefits of a Valve Cover Gasket Replacement
Although replacing a valve cover gasket will increase the total cost of the valve cover gasket price, this can be well worth it to keep other parts of your car running safely and smoothly. Since the cover gasket holds the cover in place and makes sure no oil is leaking, it makes sure that the engine will not fail over time or lose lubrication.
Your engine requires that necessary oil to keep everything running smoothly, the parts moving together well, and prevent friction and heat buildup. By ensuring that your valve cover gasket is in good condition, working well, and in good condition for many more months, you will ensure that the longevity of your engine and the components will be much longer, thereby saving money on car repairs and lowering the total cost of the valve cover gasket price.
How to Save Money on a Valve Cover Gasket Replacement Price
Depending on the specific type of car you have, like the make, model, and year, you might be able to do this repair yourself if you have the right research done and the right tools. You can actually save a lot of money on the total valve cover gasket price if you eliminate the labor costs entirely by preventing going to a mechanic.
Since this replacement isn’t a very complicated process when compared to other repairs and replacements in your vehicle, most people would be able to do this replacement on their own with some basic instructions. If you decide to go this route, make sure you are following the specific guidelines for your individual vehicle, as removing the wrong parts can cause leaks and other issues. If you do this yourself, you will be saving money on the total valve cover gasket price.
Sample Valve Cover Gasket Prices
To better understand how much you might have to pay for the valve cover gasket replacement on the market today, we have included some sample prices for having the repair done on some of the more popular car models that are owned today. Even though the cost can change depending on where you have the work done and what mechanic you use, if you use one at all, this will provide a little more of an idea of how much you can expect to pay for the valve cover gasket price.
One of the less expensive cars when getting the valve cover gasket price estimate is the Toyota Corolla, with the labor costs ringing in at between $63 to $80, the parts coming in at between $22-$39, and the total being a range of $85-$119 for the total valve cover gasket price.
The next cheapest in terms of valve cover gasket price is the Ford Focus, with the labor running in at between $71-$90, the parts being between $21-$178, and the total being around $92-$168.
The more expensive options are still not going to break the bank, but they are definitely more expensive than these cheaper prices. For example, the Nissan Altima costs a lot more in terms of labor, with the price ranging between $181-$230 just for the mechanic’s fees, while the parts are just $34-$45, with the total being between $215-$276.
Despite the gasket being relatively inexpensive, generally between $10-$40, the installation prices can vary greatly within the make and model of your car and the price charged by the mechanic. However, in the grand scheme of things, the total cost for the valve cover gasket price is relatively low compared to other heavy duty repairs and replacements.