Valve stem seals are small components within your engine, however the role they play in the grand scheme of things is quite significant, relative to their size. In this quick guide, we’ll be discussing the importance of these integral parts, including what they are, how they work, symptoms of failure, along with what you can do to ensure their longevity and maintain your engine’s functionality.
What Are Valve Stem Seals?
Valve stem seals sort of go against the traditional meaning of ‘seal’, as they are actually designed to leak out oil- but in a controlled manner, of course. Chiefly, there are three different types of valve stem seals:
O-Ring Valve Stem Seals
You won’t find these valve stem seals in any modern engines, however it’s still good to learn that they exist. O-ring valve stem seals sit below the valve stem keepers and work by stopping oil from leaking between the valve stem and valve retainer.
Umbrella Style Valve Stem Seals
Umbrella style valve stem seals sit around the top of the valve stems and move up and down along with the valve, to protect the valve guide from any excess oil by deflecting it.
Positive Valve Stem Seals
Positive valve stem seals are what you’ll find in almost all modern engines built today. This is the most effective type of seal by far, and functions similar to that of a squeegee by wiping and metering the oil. The oil then lubricates the seal as the stem passes through.
What Is Their Purpose?
A lot of oil runs through your engine, but it’s especially important that this oil does not enter the combustion chamber. Valve stem seals keep the crankcase and combustion chamber separate, so that oil does not enter the combustion chamber, and the oil within the cylinder head is prevented from being contaminated. They do this by controlling the amount of oil that enters the guide.
Signs of Valve Stem Failure
One of the most common signs of valve stem seal failure is increased oil consumption. So, if you notice that your oil is decreasing at a far more rapid rate than usual, you should ensure to take worn valve stem seals into account as a possible cause. On the other hand, engine oil leaks, excessive smoke or decreased acceleration power are also common symptoms that you may experience.
How Do I Keep My Valve Stem Seals in Top Condition?
Valve stem seals often last hundreds of thousands of miles before they have to be replaced, however improper installation or infrequent oil and filter changes can contribute towards their faster deterioration. For this reason, it’s important to:
Trust in a Reliable Auto Mechanic
As valve stem seals can be installed incorrectly, it’s important to ensure that you’re bringing your vehicle to a highly reputable and reliable auto mechanic. This is especially true if you’re the owner of a luxury European vehicle brand; after all, you wouldn’t put your prized possession in the hands of just any old mechanic.
Keep Up with Frequent Servicing
When you subject your vehicle to frequent servicing, you will be allowing experienced technicians to inspect your vehicle and assess its performance, as well as diagnose any problems that may be initially hard to identify. In this way, if there are any problems with your valve stem seals, or if they’re almost due for a replacement, you can have the issue resolved promptly and accurately, without having to worry about major problems developing later on down the track.
Suspect a Valve Steam Seal Failure? Turn to German Auto Meisters
If you’ve experienced any of the aforementioned symptoms of a valve stem seal failure, then you should ensure to bring your vehicle to German Auto Meisters right away. We’re the European auto mechanic that luxury vehicle owners in Perth can trust to deliver the appropriate repair and maintenance services. Apart from offering the highest level of care and commitment towards your vehicle, our team are also dedicated towards achieving absolute customer satisfaction. With a fully equipped workshop at their disposal, as well the latest diagnostic technology, our highly trained technicians are capable of resolving matters with your vehicle in a prompt and efficient manner. They’ve spent years working on models hailing from brands such as BMW, Audi, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz and more. Needless to say, you’ll know that you’re putting your vehicle in capable hands when you turn to our services.