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Engine Mechanical Valve Stem Oil Seal Replacement

Valve Stem Oil Seal Replacement

A valve stem oil seal replacement will vary in cost depending on the year, make, and model of your car

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What is a Valve Stem Oil Seal?

A valve stem oil seal is a bit of a rarity in cars. Not that the piece itself is rare, but what it does is very unique. Your car has a lot of seals. They all serve the purpose of keeping things in, or keeping them out. Pretty simple, right?

But the valve stem oil seal is the exception. Its job is to actually allow some oil into the valve stems. Just not a lot. In other words, you want valve stem oil seals to leak. I know, it’s weird, but stay with me here.

Valves are a key part of your engine. There are intake valves, which open up to let air (and sometimes fuel) into the cylinders, and exhaust valves which allow spent gases to exit. The valve stems are the top part of the valve. The valve stem seals help keep oil out of the combustion chamber , while also allowing the right amount of oil in to properly – but not overly – lubricate the valve stem.

If that seems like a lot, that’s because it is. So, just take my word for it when I say they’re important.

Valve stem oil seals usually have a very long shelf life, and will often survive the whole lifetime of your car. But they can wear out and malfunction, especially if your oil isn’t changed frequently enough.

So, you should probably be a responsible person and have your oil changed regularly.

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Symptoms of a failing Valve Stem Oil Seal

Smoke from the tailpipe

White or blue smoke coming out of your car might sound kinda cool, but trust me, it's not. If your car has busted valve stem seals, then residual oil may be pulled into the combustion chamber when the car is first turned on. That’s not great, and it will result in a white or blue smoke coming out of the exhaust system. The colored smoke will likely go away as soon as the engine reaches a normal operating temperature, though it can persist if the valve stem oil seals are in really bad shape.

Low oil level

I’ve got some homework for you this weekend. Take a break from sitting in front of the TV, and go check the fluid levels in your car. It will only take you five minutes, and you can get back to your regularly scheduled programming. Checking fuel levels is a smart thing to do. That way you can find out when your car is losing a critical fluid, and get it fixed before things get worse. Malfunctioning valve stem oil seals may allow oil to enter the engine and be burned during combustion. In addition to causing other issues, this will eventually result in excessive oil consumption, which will show up in your fluid levels.

Check engine warning light

Trust me, I get it. Check engine lights, and any dashboard warning lights for that matter, are easy to ignore. They're just some tiny lights. What's the worst that can happen right? You don't want to know. If your valve stem oil seals are malfunctioning, your check engine light might pop up, and I'd strongly suggest you DON'T ignore it this time.

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How urgent is a Valve Stem Oil Seal replacement?

It’s safe to drive short distances in a car that needs a valve stem oil seal replacement. But it’s not great for the car, as it can put excess stress on the engine.

So, just do the smart thing here and get your valve stem oil seal replaced.

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