What are Valve Covers and Why are They Important?

Located right on top of the cylinder head is a part called the valve cover. In this guide, you’ll learn about valve covers and why they’re important.

What is a Valve Cover?

The valve cover, which is sometimes called a rocker cover, is an important component of the engine. It’s a plastic or metal component that is bolted to the top of the cylinder head.

Cover and gasket

The gap between the valve cover and the cylinder head is sealed by a valve cover gasket. The whole setup keeps oil inside the engine, which is important to the engine’s overall health and performance.

Why a Cracked or Loose Valve Cover is Bad News

When a valve cover is cracked or loose, oil leaks out. When there’s not enough oil in the engine, the engine will eventually self-destruct. More specifically:

  • Extreme engine wear: Without enough oil, there’s excess friction between the fast moving parts that should be lubricated well. That wears down the parts and will eventually break them.
  • Overheating: Not only does oil lubricate the parts inside your engine, but it also helps keep the engine cool. When there’s not enough oil, the engine will overheat.

The bottom line: a leaking valve cover leads to serious engine issues.

Symptoms of a Cracked or Loose Valve Cover

If you think oil might be leaking out of your engine’s valve cover, keep an eye out for the most common symptoms:

  • Engine running rough
  • Reduced engine power
  • Burning oil smell
  • Dirt and debris covering the valve cover
  • Oil spots on your garage floor

How Much Does a Replacement Valve Cover Cost?

Cover drawing

There’s no good reason to put off a valve cover replacement. It's a simple fix and replacement valve covers don’t have to be expensive. If you order a genuine OEM GM valve cover from us, you’ll save a lot of money. Look up your vehicle in our catalog to see if we have a valve cover for you at a steep discount. You can also see if your vehicle is in this list of our most popular valve covers:

  • Part No. 12631008: For 2007-2012 Colorados, Canyons, H3s, and H3Ts
  • Part No. 55564395: For 2009-2018 Aveos, Cruzes, Sonics, and G3s
  • Part No. 25198877: For 2018 Encore, Sonic, and Trax models