Driving a car is easy, compared to maintaining and repairing it, as you might have discovered after opening the hood. Knowing how to fix small car problems like valve cover gasket replacement can not only save money for you, it might also come in handy when there is no help and you are completely on your own. Although there are mechanics and service centers around, if you understand the working of your car, you can learn to fix problems before they blow out into bigger ones. The knowledge empowers you to save money and also appreciate the working of your car even more. In this write-up, the cost of replacing a valve cover gasket, is discussed, along with a description of the associated procedure. For those who are just looking for an estimate of cost involved, it could be anything in the range of $100 to $300.
Wherever there are high pressure cylinders or chambers, there are valves and gaskets to fix leakages. The gasket seals your car's engine cylinder and prevents oil leakage from inside. It is placed between the engine cylinder head and the valve cover. Oil is ever present inside an engine cylinder, as a lubricant. The main function of a cover gasket is to prevent leakage of oil from the cylinder, when the car is running.
These cover gaskets are usually made of silicon, cork or rubber. Although they are manufactured to last long, they have an inherently limited lifespan and over time they may get worn out. Lubricant oil leakage from cylinders can not only result into lowering of lubricant levels, it can also affect the engine efficiency. That is why, it's important that you go for a replacement, when they are worn out.
When to Go For a Replacement
Let us see what are the signs that point towards an imminent replacement. Open the hood and inspect the engine. If you notice wet oil deposits around the valve cover of the cylinder head, it is a sure sign of a worn out gasket. Immediate replacement is advised, otherwise the leakage will lead to a decrease in engine efficiency and eventually even greater engine damage resulting in costly repairs.
Let me provide a brief overview of generic valve cover gasket replacement procedure which might give you an idea about the complexity of the job in case you are planning to do it yourself. The things that you will need are wrenches, socket set, penetrating oil, silicone sealant and of course a new gasket that is the right one for your car model.
Open car hood and first disconnect the negative terminal of the car battery. Next part is to access valve cover of the engine. To do that, one has to remove quite a few items out of the way including air ducts, spark plugs and its wires along with the throttle cable. Details will vary according to the model of the car.
Once you gain access to the valve cover, remove the bolts holding it down. Then pry off the gasket cover, while taking care not to damage it. Proceed to remove the old gasket and clean the exposed engine surface thoroughly. You can then proceed to apply RTV silicone based sealant under the new gasket and the engine head.
After laying the valve cover inside the gasket groove, fix the bolts holding the gasket down back again and proceed to reinstall and reconnect all the car parts that you removed to gain access to the engine head. Then reconnect the car battery and your job is done. As you can see replacing the gasket is no big deal but it is a job that needs to be done with care. The cost of replacement is high, due to difficulty in accessing the car part and the job of removal and replacement of many other car parts involved. Refer to the appropriate Hayne's car manual for a detailed replacement procedure.
There are two main components that constitute the cost. One is the labor cost involved and the other is cover gasket cost. Depending on your car model and component quality, cover gasket cost will vary. Additional cost of new parts may be included, if necessary. It ranges from $17 to as much as $49. The labor cost can vary from $80 to $150, which includes cost of material involved. So if you give it to a car repair center, the cost would range from roughly $100 to $300.
The cost will vary according to your location, car model and the degree of repair involved. A timely replacement can save your engine from major damage.