Valve Cover Leak? Could Be The Gasket.

Valve covers might seem like inconspicuous components in your car’s engine, but they play a vital role in ensuring the engine’s smooth operation and protecting critical internal components.

In this article, we’ll dive into what valve covers are made from, their purpose, and the warning signs of a failing valve cover gasket.

What Are Valve Covers and What Are They Made From?

Valve covers are protective enclosures that sit on top of the engine’s head(s), covering the valve train and other vital components. They are typically made from materials like aluminum, steel, plastic, or composite materials. Aluminum and steel valve covers are common in older vehicles and offer durability and heat resistance. Plastic or composite covers are often found in newer cars, providing weight savings and resistance to corrosion.

The primary function of a valve cover is to shield the valve train, camshafts, and other parts from debris, dirt, and dust while containing the engine oil and preventing leaks. However, they also can be dressed up to provide your engine with a customized look.

The Importance of Valve Cover Gaskets

Valve cover gaskets are a critical component of the valve cover assembly. They create a tight seal between the valve cover and the cylinder head, preventing oil from leaking out and ensuring that no contaminants enter the engine. Gaskets are typically made of rubber or cork and wear out over time.

Signs of a Failing Valve Cover Gasket

1. Oil leaks around the valve cover: One of the first signs of a failing valve cover gasket is leaking oil around the valve cover and the top of the cylinder head.

2. A Burning Oil Smell: A distinct burning oil smell, particularly when you’re near the engine or after driving, can indicate that engine oil is leaking onto hot engine components due to a faulty valve cover gasket. In some cases, you may even see smoke coming from the exhaust manifolds because oil is leaking onto them.

3. Dark Areas with Dirt and Debris Stuck to the Valve Cover: Inspect the valve cover for dark areas where dirt and debris are stuck. This is evidence that oil has escaped and “gunk” has adhered to the valve cover, signifying a leak.

4. Damaged or Missing Bolts or Screws: Check for damaged or missing bolts or screws securing the valve cover. Loose, damaged, or missing fasteners can result in oil leaks and a compromised seal, leading to other issues.

Regular inspection of valve covers and their gaskets is essential to ensuring a well-functioning engine and preventing costly repairs down the line. If you have a valve cover or valve cover gasket issue, it’s crucial to address it promptly to maintain the integrity and efficiency of your vehicle’s engine.

Order Your Custom Valve Covers From Karl Kustoms

At Karl Kustoms, we carry many different valve covers, including these popular options and accessories:

Part DescriptionPart Number
Karl Performance Parts Aluminum Coil CoversKPPJM8081-7
Ford 5.0L Coyote Mod Motor Fabricated Aluminum Valve Covers w/ DipstickKPP84052
Karl Performance Parts GM LS Cast Aluminum Valve CoversKPPJM8082
GM LS V8 Finned Aluminum 2-Piece Valve Covers with Coil Mounts and CoversKPPK8082-2
GM LS Chevy 2-PC Smooth Cast Aluminum Valve Covers w/ Coil Mounts and CoverKPPJM8082-3
4-3/4″ SBC Valve Covers Spreader Bar – ChromeKPPK4993
3/4″ ID PCV Breather Grommet For Steel Valve CoversKPPK4998
3/4″ ID PCV Breather Grommet For Aluminum Valve CoversKPPK4998X
Aluminum SBC Chevy Tall Circle Track Valve Covers – PolishedKPPK6140
Aluminum SBC Chevy Tall Circle Track Valve Covers – BlackKPPK6140BK
Small Block Ford Aluminum Valve Covers – Tall Finned W/HoleKPPK6175
Valve Covers SBC Tall Finned Polished AluminumKPPK6181
Aluminum SBC Small Block Chevy Short & Finned Valve Covers- PolishedKPPK6186
Valve Covers SBC Small Block Chevy 1987-Up Tall Finned – PolishedKPPK6191
BBC Big Block Chevy Tall Finned Valve Covers W/ Hole Polished AluminumKPPK6280
Black BBC Big Block Chevy Tall Finned Valve Covers With Hole AluminumKPPK6280BK
Ford 289 Tall Finned Valve Covers Polished PairKPPK6282
Ford 289 Tall Finned Valve Covers Black PairKPPK6283
Small Block Ford Finned Valve Covers- Polished AluminumKPP8520
Aluminum LS1 Valve Covers PolishedKPPJM8081-5P
Cast Aluminum LS1 Valve Covers BlackKPPK6369BK
Valve Covers SBC Small Block Chevy Tall – ChromeKPP8195
Chrome Steel Valve Covers Oldsmobile 330-455KPPK9391
Valve Covers Pontiac 301-455 Short – ChromeKPP7524

If you have questions about valve covers or anything else, contact us at 866-697-8615 or online. Our knowledgeable staff is always eager to help!