Before anything, we need to understand how important the valve cover gasket is in cars. There are several car types and models that even use the valve cover gasket as the ultimate stopper or seal that separates the spark plug tubes from oil.
When the valve cover gasket leaks, there are bound to be all manner of issues in your car. But the question is, can a leaking valve cover gasket cause rough idle?
A leaking valve cover gasket can cause a rough idle if the oil coming from the leak spills into the pocket of the spark plugs, thereby causing a rough idle.
A car is not designed to have maintained leaks anywhere. Every part of the car is designed to be locked in its space. None is supposed to leak with everything in perfect condition.
What Does it Mean for Valve Cover Gasket to Leak?
A leaking valve cover gasket indicates wear in the piece, or cover, as the case may be. Usually, when something leaks, it can either be as a result of a crack, an inability for the container or leaking item to close, a spill around the outer body of the item, or the item is simply taking too much than it can bear.
In the case of the valve cover gasket, there are several reasons why it could leak and cause malfunctions in your car. Some of the reasons may be minor, while others might need tougher maintenance or attention.
Here are some reasons why your valve cover gasket might leak:
Cracked Valve Cover
The cover of the valve might have cracked due to a harder item impressing or falling upon it. There are times when vehicles drive on seriously gallop roads that cause the engine under the vehicles to hit the hard ground on the road.
This sometimes leads to certain cracks and breaks in parts of the engine that invariably lead to leaks.
If the valve cover is damaged in the form of cracks, then you will need to replace it the minute you find out. It will prove grievous to wait some more to watch, as it can cause further damage to your vehicle’s engine.
Untightened or Misplaced Bolts and Screws
The valve cover gasket is supposed to be tightened properly to prevent fluids from escaping it, however, this purpose will be defeated if the bolts holding the valve cover gasket together are untightened, loosened, or missing altogether.
A loosened bolt spells free flow in and out of the gasket, and this in turn leads to leaks and spillages that should have been kept tightened and locked up.
Misfit of Gasket and Valve
There are situations where the gasket doesn’t fit properly to the valve cover, and this causes it to leak. The gasket might stop fitting the valve cover due to wear, or it has been twisted, bent, and warped in some sort of way.
When there is a misfit in that joint, it prevents it from sealing oil off properly, and then oil leaks out and gets into the spark plugs and the surrounding areas of the gasket.
To know whether your valve cover gasket is leaking, you should check the edges of your valve cover. If you notice any residue or dirt around the edges of the cover, then that is a piece of evidence that there is a leak.
Also, while driving, you might begin to smell oil in your vicinity. Once you smell oil while driving, check your engine. It will be as a result of a leak. It might not be the valve cover gasket leaking, and it might as well be.
Can a Leaking Valve Cover Gasket Cause Rough Idle?
Yes, a leaking valve cover gasket is liable to cause rough idle. When there is a leak in the gasket, the oil ensuing from the leak spills into the pocket of the spark plugs, and this will cause rough idle.
Rough idle is a phenomenon in vehicles that is caused when there is an issue with the spark plugs. If oil gets into the spark plugs, it dulls the spark and causes it to lose its appropriate function. When this happens, rough idle ensues.
Once you notice that your valve cover gasket is leaking, and it has caused rough idle in your vehicle, find out the cause of the leakage, fix it, and then take out your plugs and inspect them.
Change them if you need to, and fix them back. Once you do that, you rid yourself of issues rough idleness issues.
Be sure to fix the cause of the leak before you change your plugs because changing plugs without fixing the cause of the leak will only cause the problem to reoccur until you fix the leak.
Any leakage in any part of the vehicle indicates an abnormality, and an abnormal working will lead to inefficiency of the vehicle, then further abnormality, until the vehicle ultimately surrenders to the malfunctions.
What Other Problems Can a Leaking Valve Cover Gasket Cause?
Asides from rough idleness, there are several other problems that a leaking valve cover gasket can cause if not checked.
Once you see any of these problems, you have to treat it as a symptom of a leaking valve cover gasket and you should act accordingly by fixing the leak in your gasket.
1. Oil Levels become Low
A leaking valve cover gasket causes your vehicle to be low on the necessary oil because, notwithstanding the tiny drops, your vehicle loses oil by the second due to the gasket leaks, and a low oil level in a vehicle spells bad things for that vehicle.
Also, as a result of the leak, you have to spend more money buying oil more frequently than you would have, and this problem would persist until you fix the leak.
Yes. Your engine can misfire as a result of a leaking valve cover gasket. This is because the oil leaking from the gasket will find its way into the spark plugs and cause the plugs to malfunction, or not even function at all, and when there is an issue with your spark plugs, your engine is bound to misfire.
When your engine starts to misfire, you should get a sense that it is a problem with the spark plugs. That is usually the first point of inspection for all car owners.
Once you check your spark plugs, you will find that the oil getting into your plugs pocket is the reason your engine is misfiring, and once you locate the cause of the leak, you fix it.
The Smell of Burning Oil
The environment of your car while driving will be unconducive due to the smell of burning oil around your car.
Once the oil is leaking from the gasket unto the engine and the spark plugs, or any time at all oil is exposed from your car, you will get the strong smell, and so will everyone around your vehicle.
This causes a problem of terrible smell and an unconducive environment around your car. You should check your engine once you start smelling burning oil to find what the issue is and fix it.
A leaking valve cover gasket never spells anything good. So, it is important that when you get symptoms such as your engine misfiring, the smell of burning oil, and frequency in the use of your engine oil, you should know there is something wrong, and it most likely is a leak in your engine, particularly your oil gasket.
Once you discover a leak in your valve cover gasket, to avoid the complications to your vehicle that it causes, you should fix it as soon as possible. Depending on the cause of the leak, it could be something you can do by yourself, or invite your mechanic to do it for you.