What’s the Difference Between a BMW Valve Cover and a Valve Cover Gasket?

BMW Valve Cover vs. Valve Cover Gasket.

Automobile engines are complex machines with interconnected systems and components. If each component had its own unique symptoms of distress when repair or replacement is needed, car maintenance would be much simpler, but this is not the case. Burning smells, engine misfires, and even leaking oil can result from a variety of problems, from simple maintenance issues to severe damage that will lead to a breakdown if not addressed immediately.

Among the most commonly misdiagnosed problems related to oil leaks in a BMW are those involving the valve cover and valve cover gasket, two essential components for protecting the cylinder head hardware and preventing oil from escaping the motor. Here is a breakdown of the two components and their purposes:

BMW valve cover

The valve cover is a casing found on the top of the engine. It covers the valves of the engine, protects the machinery from the elements, and prevents oil leaks. Cracks, corrosion, and misalignment of the valve cover can cause fluid to leak into the engine compartments and lead to engine failure.

BMW valve cover gasket

The valve cover gasket is a thin strip of rubber or cork that creates a tight seal between the valve cover and the cylinder head. Because the gasket is delicate and prone to damage, continuous exposure to dirt, debris, and heat over time will cause it to become brittle and crack, losing its ability to prevent leaks.

Signs and symptoms of a failing valve cover or gasket

In a worst-case scenario, leaking oil from a damaged valve cover or valve cover gasket can lead to engine failure or even a fire under the hood, so it’s important to bring your BMW to a certified BMW specialist if you experience any of the following signs and symptoms:

Burning oil smell from an oil leak

When oil leaks, it drips onto hot engine components to produce a noticeable burning odor.

Dirty valve cover from leaking oil

Leaking oil collects dirt and debris, and the resulting grimy mixture tends to stick to the valve cover.

Low engine oil usually means an oil top-off is required

The low oil indicator light usually means a top-off is required, but if a failed valve cover or gasket is causing the leak, adding more oil won’t solve the problem.

White smoke from the exhaust

Leaking oil that mixes with coolant produce a white smoke that emanates from the exhaust.

Misfiring engine and poor BMW engine performance

Leaking oil can seep into the spark plug tubes, causing misfires and poor engine performance.

Overheating engine without proper lubrication

Without proper lubrication from oil, engine components can overheat and eventually seize.

Prevent misdiagnosis—bring your BMW to the experts in San Diego

Misdiagnosis of oil leaks can lead to complete engine failure, so getting a professional diagnosis as soon as you notice the leak can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. But that doesn’t mean you should take your BMW to any mechanic.

At B and B Autohaus, we specialize in BMW service and repair. Our professional technicians are trained to provide expert diagnosis, maintenance, adjustments, repair, and replacements for all types of BMWs. We know BMWs inside and out, and we bring a level of experience and precision you won’t find at generalized auto shops. At B and B Autohaus, we guarantee the highest level of service and satisfaction. Don’t leave your luxury vehicle in the hands of just anybody—call B and B Autohaus or stop by our convenient San Diego location today.