Engine Valve Covers
Valve covers are metal casings, which are bolted to the engine's cylinder head. These metal casings protect the oil inside the engine from being contaminated. This will help prolong the life of the oil and components which rely on it to operate properly. Contaminated oil runs the risk of turning into a liquid abrasive rather than a lubricant which is what the engine uses it as. The valve covers also ensure that the oil doesn’t spill out of the engine which could cause damage to parts inside and outside of the engine. Some older vehicles may not use valve covers because the rocker arms which are under the cover needed to be oiled frequently.
Most valve covers seen today are made out of aluminum or steel which helps provide a strong durable cover. These covers are often chromed which will help tremendously when dressing up the engine. Since the valve covers are so big and usually one of the first things seen on the engine, it is important that they look good while functioning properly. Logos and designs are common on these covers to help support a favorite company, or to enhance the look inside the engine compartment.
Replacement valve covers are widely available on the market and come in many different shapes and finishes to fit the need of any size engine and its configuration. The height of the valve cover is determined by the type and size of rocker arms/springs being used in the engine. Valve covers are secured to the engine using bolts which should be tightened to the proper spec provided by the manufacture. Holes are typically located in many different spots on the valve cover to accommodate for things such as the breather.
To ensure a tight seal between the valve cover and the cylinder head, a gasket is used which will prevent oil leaks. This gasket also helps prevent condensation and other contaminants from making their way into the engine under the valve cover. Most valve cover gaskets are only designed to be sealed one time which means a new gasket should be used whenever taking off the valve cover or when replacing it. Valve cover gaskets are made out of rubber, cork, or molded silicone which is becoming a popular alternative in modern engines.
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