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Engine Mechanical Valve Rocker Arm Replacement

Valve Rocker Arm Replacement

A valve rocker arm replacement is an important engine service. The cost can vary greatly depending on the type of car you have.

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What is a Valve Rocker Arm?

Valve rocker arms are a small component of your car’s engine, but they’re extremely important. But in order to understand how crucial they are, we need to take a step back, and give you a quick lesson on valves.

So, let’s talk about valves. Your car has intake valves and exhaust valves. When the intake valve opens, it allows air and fuel (or just air in some cases) to enter the combustion chamber. Then the intake valve is closed and the piston moves upward, creating pressure, and the air-fuel mixture is ignited by the spark plug. An explosion is created that puts the piston in motion, creating the power needed to propel your car. Afterward, the exhaust valve opens to allow spent gases to exit the cylinder. Then the cycle repeats.

The valve rocker arms are really just arms for the valves. The valves are opened and closed by the camshaft. The camshaft acts on the rocker arms, either directly or via pushrods, causing the arms to open and close the valves.

If this is all a bit confusing, just take my word when I say that valve rocker arms are important.

They’re also pretty durable, as they’re usually made of stamped steel. But, like most car parts, they can break over time, and then your engine won’t be in the best mood.

Some sports cars use aluminum valve rocker arms. These are less durable, but weigh less, thus increasing performance.

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Symptoms of failing Valve Rocker Arms

Check engine warning light

The check engine warning light exists to help you identify when something is wrong with your car, so the issue doesn’t get out of control. If your valve rocker arms are calling in sick to work, then your engine won’t get the proper ratio of air to fuel, which will likely trigger the warning light.

Poor engine performance

Know that sluggish feeling when you've eaten too much? Well, your car behaves the same way. It needs the proper ratio of air to fuel in order perform properly. The valves are responsible for that. When the valve rocker arms fail, the function of the valves will likely be messed up, which leads to improper amounts of fuel and air. Your engine will then start acting up. You might notice your car has less power than it normally does, or maybe it hesitates or jerks when you try and accelerate.

Noises from the engine

It goes without saying, mysterious noises coming from your engine are bad. When the valve rocker arms begin to go, you’ll hear some unfamiliar noises coming from your car’s drivetrain. Don’t just turn up the music and pretend you can’t hear the noises.

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How urgent is a Valve Rocker Arm replacement?

It’s safe to drive a car short distances when it needs a valve rocker arm replacement. But the car won’t be happy and driving for long distances with this issue can lead to engine damage.

Do you want poor performance and engine damage? Don’t answer that. It’s a rhetorical question.

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