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Valve Cover Gasket – What Is The Purpose Of This Part In Your Vehicle?

Valve Cover Gasket – What Is The Purpose Of This Part In Your Vehicle?

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.

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE

Valve Cover Gasket Function


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. The cover gasket is also in charge of sealing off numerous spark plug ports to keep them protected and prevent spark plug fluid leaks.

Types of Cover Gaskets 

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 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 covers.


The valve cover keeps the gasket compressed, which prevents leaks, being the cover gasket’s 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.

Faulty Cover Gasket Symptoms

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, many symptoms will show themselves as the issue is getting worse – like the ones below.

  • Burning Smell

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. The oil that has spilled onto the exhaust pipes or cylinder head causes the oil to burn excessively and damage the other components of the engine, thereby increasing the total valve cover gasket price. 

Causes of the burning smell 

If you have oil seepage or dripping, then this is a cause of the burning smell. Suppose the joint between the valve cover and cylinder head fails to continue working or develops a crack. In that case, the 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 the spark plug well, which can cause a 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 the engine with the engine’s moving components 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 cause the engine to overheat. This engine overheating process could 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. 

Low Engine Oil symptoms

Possibly the most noticeable low engine oil symptom that most drivers and passengers notice is the oil warning light flashing on their dashboard, indicating there is a problem you need to take care of immediately. This suggests that you have low engine oil since there is not enough oil in your engine to run the car and power the vehicle to drive on the road. 


Another noticeable sign of low engine oil symptoms is knocking noises and loud sounds coming from your engine. Since these sounds will be very noticeable to everyone in the cabin, this is a symptom that is easy to recognize before the problem gets any worse. You will only see this low engine oil symptom if there is no correct oil level in your car, so you need to get it fixed right away.


The third sign of low engine oil symptoms in your vehicle is the burning smell. Any smell in your car is not a sign of your car working correctly and usually indicates a problem that should be taken care of. However, a burning smell is a severe problem that generally signals low engine oil. 


If you need to confirm your car has low engine oil levels, then a dipstick test can help put your mind at ease and figure out the cause of low engine oil symptoms. Ensure that your engine is turned off and has cooled before you do this test to prevent any hot oil from coming in contact with your skin. 


The worst after effect of the low engine oil symptoms in your car is engine failure. An engine failure is one of the most expensive repairs and replacements in your car since you will not be able to drive with this problem. If this is the case, you will have to pay a lot of money and spend a lot of time fixing the low engine oil symptoms. 

  • 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 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 you will notice with the valve cover gasket being damaged, you should fix the problem before it 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. 

Causes of a Dirty Valve Cover 

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 first, and then continue with changing your oil in the car. 


If you do not feel comfortable doing this yourself or 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 necessary if you do not have the skills and tools to do it yourself. Let’s see the steps to replacing a valve cover gasket.

  • Remove Engine Cover 

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 four-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. 

  • Remove Air Intake Plenum

On other modern cars that contain more powerful engines that are six 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. 

  • Remove Valve Cover 

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 ensure that the cover can be reused again. If the valve cover can’t be reused, you will have to get a replacement valve cover, increasing the valve cover gasket price. 

  • Install the New Gasket 

Next, the mechanic will finally install the new gasket. The new valve cover gasket is installed in tandem with a new rubber grommet under the retaining bolt heads to keep the bolt heads in place. The mechanic will often replace the spark plug tube seals and 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. 

  • Check for Leaks 

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. 

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. 

Sample Valve Cover Gasket Replacement Cost 

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 is around $92-$168. 


The more expensive options are still not going to break the bank, but they are 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.  


Now that you understand what the valve cover gasket is, the signs and symptoms of a faulty valve cover gasket, the repair or replacement process, and the total valve cover gasket price, you have an idea of how important this part is in your vehicle!