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The GM Owner’s Guide To Valve Covers And Gaskets

On any modern internal combustion engine, you can find a valve cover. As a car owner, you may want to know a bit about valve covers (as well as valve cover gaskets) and how to spot a broken one.

That’s what this guide is for. Here, you’ll find all the information you need about valve covers, how to verify that your valve cover (or gasket) is bad, and more.

What Is A Valve Cover?

Remove valve cover

Image Credit: SuperChevy

Also called a rocker cover (mainly in Europe), a valve cover is located near the top of the engine. The valve cover attaches to the top of the cylinder head and covers the valve train. It serves a couple of important purposes. It:

  1. Shields the cylinder head and valve train from dirt and debris
  2. Prevents the oil from spraying out of the engine when the engine is running

To read more about valve covers and how they work, this article has all the information you need.

What Is A Valve Cover Gasket?

If you look underneath the valve cover, you’ll find a thin rubber gasket that seals the gap between the valve cover and the cylinder head. That’s the valve cover gasket. It helps keep the motor oil inside the engine.

How To Diagnose A Failing Valve Cover Or Valve Cover Gasket

Got a hunch that your valve cover or gasket is leaking oil? Use this guide to thoroughly check both parts for a leak. It’s a simple and straightforward process. Just warm up your engine and then inspect the top and sides of the valve cover for leaks.

How To Replace A Valve Cover Or Valve Cover Gasket

When your valve cover or gasket is cracked or loose, you need to replace it as soon as possible to prevent serious engine issues from cropping up. The good news is you can do it at home with a few basic tools and a couple hour(s) of free time. The process basically involves removing and disconnecting all of the parts around the valve cover to make it easier to remove. You can find a tutorial specifically for your model. For example, here’s a full tutorial for the Chevy Colorado.