What is an Engine Valve Adjustment?
Let's start with the basics. Engine valves are valves. Hopefully, you know what a valve is. They’re tiny, yet they’re one of the most important and commonly used components in your entire car. The basic concept of an engine valve is simple. Every cylinder in the car’s engine has valves that sit on top of the cylinder. There are intake and exhaust valves. The intake valves let air and fuel (or just air in some cases) into the engine and the exhaust valves let spent gases out.
The camshaft, rocker arms, and valve lifters are responsible for opening the valves, and a spring closes them. Pushrods are also added to the mix on some cars. It’s a basic, but vital process, that is repeated thousands of times every minute. So, if you feel like you had a productive day, just imagine the kind of day your engine valves had.
Over time, the space between the valve and the camshaft can change. When that happens the timing of the valves will be thrown out of whack, and more importantly, the valves may not open and close properly which keeps them from doing their job.
When that happens, it’s time for an engine valve adjustment. An engine valve adjustment doesn’t actually adjust the valve, it simply adjusts the space between the valve and the camshaft, so that all the parts can function properly.
Most modern engines have valves that are self-adjusting, and don’t ever need to be adjusted. If only we could all be so well-evolved.