A valve cover oil leak in your Audi may start out as a minor nuisance, but left untreated, it can lead to some major complications. Of all the parts of your engine, the valve cover (or rocker cover) ranks pretty high in importance. This part is generally constructed out of metal or plastic and sits snugly on top of your cylinder head. The tiny gap that is left open between the cylinder head and the valve cover is sealed with a gasket that is made out of cork or rubber.
The function of the valve cover is to contain the oil that is required in order for the internal engine parts to remain lubricated. If this oil leaks and the engine parts do not have enough oil, the engine would eventually fail.
Causes of a Valve Cover Leak
There are several reasons why your Audi could be leaking oil from the valve cover. Pinpointing the specific reason will be the first step in fixing it.
The most commonly seen reason for a leaky valve cover is a faulty gasket. Over time, the gasket can harden and/or begin to crack or warp.
Another common reason you see oil leaking from your valve cover is if the part itself develops any cracks. Cracking can occur due to faulty manufacturing and/or from normal wear and tear over time.
One of the easiest to detect causes for an oil leak out of the valve cover is missing or improperly tightened screws or bolts. It’s easy to see why missing or loose screws or bolts could lead to an oil leak, but screws that are too tight can also cause a leak. If the screws are put on too tightly, they can lead to a broken valve cover.
Four Symptoms of a Leaking Valve Cover
- Leaking Oil: Obviously, one sure-fire way to tell that your Audi is leaking oil is to see it with your own eyes. Oil leaking from anywhere on your car is a possible indicator that something is wrong. If the oil is leaking from the valve cover, you might be able to tell by looking around the area where the cover sits. You’ll especially want to look closely around the gasket. If you notice any oil leaking at all, contact a mechanic right away. It doesn’t take long for a small oil leak to turn into a huge problem.
- Low Oil Levels: A responsible car owner knows the importance of regular oil checks. Generally speaking, you should at least check the oil once each month. If you detect an oil level that is consistently low, there’s a good chance you may have a leak. You might start by looking under your Audi for any puddles, no matter how small. Next, take a close look around the valve cover area. If you notice any oil leaking from the valve cover, take your vehicle to a respected shop right away.
- Burning Oil Smell: Another major symptom of leaking oil is the smell of burnt oil. Burning oil has a very distinctive odor. You will know if that is an issue fairly quickly. If oil is leaking out from under the valve covers and onto the hottest parts of your engine, you will likely smell it. You might be able to faintly smell it from inside your car, but if you lift the hood and the odor is really strong, you need to get your vehicle into a shop as soon as you can.
- Misfiring Engine: A misfiring engine is a symptom of a valve cover that is leaking oil, but it’s also a symptom of a wide range of other issues too, including a failing fuel system or spark plugs that are going or are already bad. The reason for this symptom is that oil leaking from the valve cover can drip onto your spark plugs. This can cause the engine to misfire. It can also actually catch on fire, so take your vehicle to a trusted Audi expert as soon as possible.
Bavarian Workshop: The Solution for a Valve Cover Leak
If your Audi is showing any of the symptoms listed above and you believe it is leaking oil from the valve cover, you should bring it to our licensed auto shop right away. If you live in the Agoura, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, or West Hills, CA area, give Bavarian Workshop a call for quick and affordable repairs.