For an engine to work it must remain completely sealed. This is where the valve cover comes into play. The valve cover does not need to be replaced frequently, but once the valve cover fails, the valve components are left unprotected, and you will need to replace it.
A few signs of a failing valve cover include:
Though leaking oil can be cause by numerous things, if the oil is located on the valve cover area or coming from that region, you can assume you have a bad valve cover or gasket. It may begin as a small drip eventually becoming larger. It can cover the whole valve cover surface area along with a layer of debris and dirt that has accumulated.
Maintaining proper oil levels is critical to your safety. If you keep topping your oil off, but it consistently becomes low quickly, the oil is going somewhere. We recommend having it inspected by an ASE Certified Mechanic such as Paul Campanella’s Auto & Tire Center Wilmington. Be sure to maintain a sufficient oil level until the valve cover is replaced.
Anytime you smell burning oil you should be concerned. Leaking oil can be dripping on to the hot engine parts and exhaust which is where the smell comes from. You never want anything burning under the hood that can cause a car fire.
An engine misfire can be caused by many things such as defective spark plugs or fuel system issues. However, a faulty valve cover can certainly be the problem. If there is oil leaking into the spark plugs, the fluid can make its way into the openings, preventing the spark plugs from work properly. When the spark plugs cannot ignite the fuel/air mixture, it causes the engine to misfire and can possibly lead to an engine fire.
If you are not checking the oil regularly, your Oil Warning Light may appear on your dashboard indicating there is not enough oil pressure in the system. Alternatively, it could show the Check Engine Light detecting the broken valve cover and gasket. Regardless, these lights indicate a serious situation, and you should stop driving until the repair is done.