How Long Do Valve Cover Gaskets Last?

A valve cover gasket is that part of a vehicle that seals the valve cover to the top portion of the engine cylinder head. It prevents motor oil from dripping out as it moves around the camshafts, valves, and rockers.

The valve cover gasket also seals many spark plug ports in many modern engines. Two styles of gaskets are predominant—formed rubber gaskets and liquid gaskets. The material used in constructing the valve cover and the amount of pressure under the seal determines the choice of gasket employed.

Symptoms Of A Faulty Valve Cover Gasket

  • Oil leakage
  • Oil in the spark plug housing
  • The noticeable odor of burning oil
  • Engine misfire
  • Debris around the oil cover

When Does The Valve Cover Gasket Need To Be Replaced?

Most of the gaskets on vehicles these days can last anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 miles. Under prolonged use and high temperatures, the gasket shrinks and becomes brittle resulting in oil leaks.

Under prolonged use and high temperatures, the gasket shrinks and becomes brittle resulting in oil leaks.

There is no maintenance for a leaky valve cover gasket. The only option is to replace it. It is advisable to replace your valve cover gasket after using it for a long time. Picking the right valve cover gasket for a vehicle can be difficult. There is a wide variety of options in the market today. The rubber valve cover gasket is preferable because they mold themselves around the cover over time.

When changing the valve cover gasket, it is advisable to seek the service of a professional. Once you discover the signs of a possible valve cover gasket issue, you will have to act swiftly to prevent losing much oil and causing further damage to the engine.

How To Diagnose A Leaking Valve Cover Gasket

 When there are visible traces of oil leak on the engine but no source of the leak,  It is advised to clean the area properly and leave it for a couple of days. Re-check to see if you can find the exact spot of the leakage.

The Consequence Of Driving With A Leaking Valve Cover Gasket

What happens here is grossly determined by the condition of the leak. The condition is regarded as a minor leak if you are not experiencing one of the following:

  • Observable oil loss
  • No oil drops when the car is parked
  • And there is no odor of burning oil

Halt repair until there is a noticeable leak. For instance, the situation where you notice oil drops on your parking spot. Also, you may be able to inhale the smell of burnt oil while driving. There are also rare cases where oil leakage from the valve cover gasket causes damage to the drive belt.

 If you plan to enjoy the company of your car for a long time, taking care of leaks will help extend your vehicle engine’s life. Always work with an experienced mechanic who understands your vehicle.

Final Note

Modern vehicles embody engines that use an overhead valve design. The oil pump pressurizes the oil contained in the car engine. It uses this oil to lubricate the engine valves and the apparatuses that operate them.

Engine oil is highly viscous, so it tends to cling to the surface of the engine. Therefore, any opening causes it to leak out. Always make sure that the valve covers are tight. Use only the appropriate type of valve cover gasket for your vehicle. A proper valve cover job depends on the diagnosis done to ascertain the cause of the leak. 


Johnston, V. ( 2016, January 18). How Long Does a Valve Cover Gasket Last? Retrieved from your mechanic:

Valve Cover Gaskets. (2021, May 11). Retrieved from Agco Auto:

Leave a Comment