As soon as you start the vehicle, various engine components go into full-working mode to keep the fuel burning, to expel gas from the chambers, and to make sure that the engine will operate within an acceptable temperature range. Oil keeps these parts working as smoothly as they could. To keep the oil inside the cylinder heads of the engine, a valve cover, which is fitted with a gasket, is used. This cover also prevents contamination by keeping dirt away.
Oil leaks from the valve cover can be bad. If the oil ever gets to the engine block, this may reach the exhaust. If left unchecked, the leaked oil may accumulate. This could lead to unwanted and dangerous ignition in the engine compartment. As much as possible, you'd want the cover to be in its best shape in order to survive the harsh conditions under the hood. You don't want the surface to rust and to look beat. Here's one way of doing that:
Steps in cleaning the cover
1. Checking various cover attachments
The first thing you have to do is take a quick look at the engine and see how everything goes for the valve cover. The wires and vacuum hoses that are connected to the cover should be pulled out. In some cases, you may also find spark plug wires somewhere in the middle of the cover. Get these things out of the way so that you can easily remove the cover. Just make sure that you mark them so that you can easily reattach these things.
2. Removing the cover
In able to remove the cover, you have to pull out the PCV valve and other connections. After setting them aside, unscrew all the retaining bolts or nuts with the right socket to finally take out the cover. If you're having a bit of difficulty removing the cover, you can use a rubber mallet for breaking the seal. Just make sure that you don't use too much force.
*Note: Valve covers may bend easily, so be careful when removing them. Don't pry them out with a screwdriver or a similar tool.
3. Cleaning the surface of the cover and the head
Use a plastic scraper and rug to remove dirt and grime on the surface of the valve cover and head, specifically on areas where the gaskets mate. When scraping off dirt, be sure not to use too much force or pressure on the gasket-mating surface.
4. Dabbing some RTV silicone on the gasket-mating surface
Apply RTV silicone on the surface of the cover thinly. After doing this, you can now put the gasket on the cover. Don't put back the cover on the head right away. Wait for 2 to 3 minutes until the gasket has settled in place.
5. Sealing the valve cover with retaining bolts and screws
Reinstall the cover with bolts and screws. Make sure you don't over-tighten the bolts, as this may damage the gasket. The wires, hoses, and other connections you've removed earlier should be reattached.