Reasons Behind Clogged Valve Covers in Your Audi
The cylinders within the Audi engine have a valve cover that is sealed by valve cover gaskets to prevent oil from leaking out of the cylinders as it flows around the camshafts and valves. These valve cover gaskets are usually made out of fortified material that can withstand the pressure at which the oil flows through these small pipes in the engine. When these valve covers work efficiently, oil pressure remains at the correct level to ensure free flow in the combustion chamber.
Unfortunately, these valve covers do not always serve their purpose correctly. When this happens, the functions of the engine are also affected. In luxurious brands such as the Audi, where engine performance is especially rated highly, these clogged valve covers can have devastating effects on the engine. For the price that Audi owners pay for their cars, the last thing that they expect to have to deal with is a clogged valve cover oil leak.
Causes of Clogging of Valve Covers
Clogging of valve covers is a process that happens over a long period of time. The main cause of this clogging is usually debris from driving as well as dust particles that settle on the valve cover. When lots of dust accumulates on the covers from prolonged driving, the integrity of these covers is compromised and they develop cracks. It is through these cracks that the oil starts to leak out of the cylinders. Factors such as extreme heat or freezing temperatures may also cause valve covers to deteriorate and start leaking.
While the debris makes the deterioration process faster, the valve covers should be checked out constantly in the course of servicing in order to catch the onset of the problem. This is because like all other car parts, these covers require replacement at some point.
Signs of Valve Cover Oil Leaks
Oil leaking from the engine cylinders through the valve cover will exhibit the following symptoms:
- There will be dirt mixed with a dark brown fluid, which is oil on the valve cover. Since oil attracts dirt and debris, leaking oil from the cover will have a substantial amount of dirt deposited on it. Because the leak may be slow at times, you may notice during oil changes that there is dirt in the valve cover. This should immediately warrant further examination of the valve cover as well as the area under the corresponding engine cylinder.
- Leaking oil from a clogged valve cover will cause the smell of burning fuel to fill the cabin of the car. This is because when the oil leaks, it goes into the cylinder head where temperature is usually really high as the engine runs. This will cause the oil to be ignited and start burning, producing the smell.
- The engine will start to misfire due to the leaking oil finding its way into the other parts of the engine, such as the spark plugs. Once it gets into the spark plug tubes, the sparking process will be affected such that it will occasionally fail to ignite the internal combustion mixture.
In addition to these signs, the check engine light on the dashboard of the car will come on, thanks to the internal computerized system in the Audi. This will indicate that the oil levels are low and may need replenishing. Leaking oil into the engine’s cylinders can be dangerous to the engine as well as the occupants of the car. This is because a fire can easily be triggered when the leaking oil gets ignited.
Should you notice dirt forming under the valve cover in your engine during regular oil changes, it is important that you have your mechanic check it out. This will enable you to change the valve cover before the leaks become unsalvageable. It is also important to seek the services of a certified technician with experience in dealing with foreign brands such as Audi. For Audi owners out in Redwood City, CA, Cerrone’s European is the one stop shop for quality repairs and efficient service. Call us as soon as you need assistance and we’ll ensure that your car is well taken care of.
* Audi S5 Sportback image credit goes to: teddyleung.