Can a leaking valve cover gasket cause low oil pressure? The valve cover gasket is mostly made of rubber and due to high temperature, it tends to shrink over time which might result in oil leaks. If the leak is big enough, there is a chance that your oil pump could have nothing to pump and this will cause a low oil pressure.
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What is a Valve Cover Gasket?
A valve cover gasket is a part of an engine designed mainly to create a seal between the valve cover and the cylinder head. The main function of the valve cover gasket is to prevent leakage of oil from the cylinder head as well as the engine block.
In most modern engines, two styles of gaskets are prevalent;
- The liquid gaskets
- The formed rubber gasket
The type of gasket used will depend on the amount of pressure the valve will be subjected to and the material used in marking the valve cover.
Functions of the Valve Cover Gasket in a Car?
The function of the valve cover gaskets is to prevent oil from leaking out of your car’s engine as it makes its journey around the camshaft, and rockets, and also the valve cover gasket is also used to seal off numerous spark plug ports to prevent plug fluids from being leaked.
A well-functioning valve cover gasket saves your car from a series of issues ranging from the engine running rough, oil in spark plugs, engine misfires, oil leaks, and white smoke in the exhaust to mention a few, we can say it saves you from unnecessary expenses.
Can a Valve Cover Gasket Leak?
YES, the valve cover gasket can leak, putting into consideration that the valve cover gasket works under high temperatures and is mostly made of rubber or plastic making it vulnerable to shrinking which will, in turn, leave gaps for oil to flow out of the engine.
Reasons Why a Valve Cover Gasket Can Leak
Reasons why a valve cover gasket leaks could be because of:
1. A Shrink
The valve gasket being subjected to work in a high-temperature environment is one of the major reasons why there is a valve cover leak, as the valve cover is made from rubber and is subjected to shrinking which in turn causes the valve cover to leak.
2. A Crack
Another possible source of the leak is a crack. The valve cover gasket is mostly made of either plastic or rubber. The crack is more common among the plastic ones which leave enough opening for the oil to pass through hereby causing a leak
3. A Rot
This is another possible reason why the valve cover gasket could leak. After multiple functions and interactions with oil under extreme conditions, chemical reactions occur, and decay sets in, causing the valve cover gasket to leak.
A lot of factors could contribute to this. But when a valve cover gasket leaks due to this, most times it is a severe case and might need to be addressed as soon as possible.
5. Loose or Missing Bolts
If you notice a loose or missing bolt around your valve cover gasket, it is important to replace it as soon as possible as this could cause a leak in the valve cover gasket
Signs of a Leaking Valve Cover Gasket
Black Residue Around the Edge of the Gasket Cover
Black residue around the valve cover of a gasket is proof of a leak. Sometimes you might even perceive an oil smell from the leaked oil burning on the engine or even notice the presence of oil in the spark plug wells.
This may not always be due to the gasket but whenever you notice an oil leak, it is best to have the system checked. As the saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Low Engine Oil
Low engine oil can also be a sign that the valve cover gasket is leaking. If you notice that your car is always low on engine oil, it is advisable to check your valve cover as it is likely to be leaking.
Address this with urgency as your oil pump has a tendency to run out of oil to pump which could lead to low oil pressure.
Check Engine Light
Yet again the need and importance of the check engine light cannot be overemphasized, when you notice that your check light is on, it is advisable to have it checked up as soon as possible and address the issue promptly.
The check engine light is an indication of a lot of things, some are minor and will cost you less while others are major and might cost you more hence the need to address every check engine light with urgency.
You never know which one might be hazardous to you or your car’s wellbeing if not cared for promptly.
Can a Leaking Valve Cover Gasket Cause Low Oil Pressure?
Yes, a leaking valve cover gasket can cause low oil pressure if the leak is not addressed on time and too much oil is lost, this could make the oil pump run short of oil to pump and as a result, low oil pressure is inevitable.
A leaking valve cover gasket is manageable and can still be functional for a while if the rate of the leaks is minimal. But if repairs are not made on time or if the rate of leak is much, it tends to cause low oil pressure.
Nonetheless, it is important to note that the engine operates at a very high temperature which sometimes results in the valve cover gasket shrinking and becoming brittle which causes oil leaks.
In an event of mild leakage, this should not cause low oil pressure as the rocker compartment is outside the pressure envelope and as a result should not affect the oil pressure.
But in the case of a huge leak or when a leak continues over a long period and significant oil was lost, there will be a huge decrease in the amount of oil and this can cause low oil pressure as the oil pumps will be in shortage of oil to pump.
Since the main purpose of the valve cover gasket is to ensure there is no leakage of oil from the cylinder head and the engine block, if it starts leaking, it should be fixed immediately to avoid low oil pressure.
Some leakages have to be addressed urgently while others can still be managed for a while depending on the amount and level of leakage. However, we recommend you address the leakages as soon as possible to avoid getting low oil pressure.