Valve cover gasket ford explorer

Valve cover gasket ford explorer DEFAULT

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Valve Cover Gasket Replacement Service

How much does a Valve Cover Gasket Replacement cost?

On average, the cost for a Ford Explorer Valve Cover Gasket Replacement is $153 with $58 for parts and $95 for labor. Prices may vary depending on your location.

CarServiceEstimateShop/Dealer Price
1999 Ford ExplorerV8-5.0LService typeValve Cover Gasket ReplacementEstimate$601.29Shop/Dealer Price$701.00 - $939.37
1997 Ford ExplorerV6-4.0LService typeValve Cover Gasket ReplacementEstimate$672.00Shop/Dealer Price$785.09 - $1034.17
2014 Ford ExplorerV6-3.5L TurboService typeValve Cover Gasket ReplacementEstimate$1038.23Shop/Dealer Price$1198.93 - $1518.75
2016 Ford ExplorerV6-3.5LService typeValve Cover Gasket ReplacementEstimate$646.25Shop/Dealer Price$766.56 - $1060.00
1993 Ford ExplorerV6-4.0LService typeValve Cover Gasket ReplacementEstimate$632.55Shop/Dealer Price$749.55 - $1032.81
2018 Ford ExplorerV6-3.5LService typeValve Cover Gasket ReplacementEstimate$177.03Shop/Dealer Price$207.56 - $276.60
2018 Ford ExplorerL4-2.3L TurboService typeValve Cover Gasket ReplacementEstimate$215.49Shop/Dealer Price$254.25 - $348.28
2013 Ford ExplorerV6-3.5LService typeValve Cover Gasket ReplacementEstimate$661.25Shop/Dealer Price$782.33 - $1076.37

Show example Ford Explorer Valve Cover Gasket Replacement prices

What is a valve cover gasket and how does it work?

Each cylinder head on your car’s engine has an aluminum or plastic valve cover bolted to it. Between this valve cover and the cylinder head, there is a gasket that keeps engine oil from leaking out. The valve cover bolts keep the gasket compressed, thus preventing leaks. Over time the gasket becomes brittle from the engine’s heat or the bolts loosen, creating an engine oil leak.

When to consider replacing a valve cover gasket?

Look for these signs of oil leakage at the valve cover gasket:

  • Oil seepage or dripping. Should the joint between the valve cover and the cylinder head fail, oil often becomes visible on the valve cover or cylinder heads. Usually, the oil will attract and hold dirt.
  • Oil accumulating inside the spark plug well. The spark plug tube seals are part of the valve cover sealing system. If the tube seals are leaking, you will see oil on the spark plugs or wires. The valve cover gasket and tube seals are all replaced at one time if either fails.
  • Oil leakage at the rubber grommets. The bolts holding the valve cover to the cylinder head sometimes have rubber grommet seals under the bolt heads. If these seals are leaking, you will see oil seepage around the bolt heads.

How do mechanics replace a valve cover gasket?

  • Remove engine cover. Some engines have plastic covers over the entire top. The plastic engine cover is removed to access the valve cover(s).
  • Remove components. On 4 cylinder engines, the valve cover is usually readily accessed once any electrical components and emission control tubing are removed, plus any accelerator linkages that might be in the way. On 6 or 8 cylinder engines, depending on which valve cover gasket is leaking, removal of the air intake plenum might be required, as well as additional steps.
  • Remove valve cover. Once the valve cover(s) is accessed, the cover retaining bolts are removed and the cover pulled off. The valve cover sealing surface is checked with a straight edge to be sure the cover is flat and thus reusable.
  • Install new gasket. The new valve cover gasket is applied along with new rubber grommets under the retaining bolt heads. If there are spark plug tube seals, these are replaced as well. In some applications, oil resistant RTV (room temperature vulcanization) sealant must be applied to specific segments of the sealing surface, along with the new gasket, to ensure a complete and effective seal. The cover is bolted back on, using a calibrated inch pound torque wrench, and all other components are restored to their original position.
  • Check for leaks. Finally, the car engine is run and a visual check is made for oil leaks.

Is it safe to drive with a valve cover gasket problem?

Yes, as long as the amount of oil leaking is small, and there is no leak onto hot engine parts such as the exhaust manifold, it is safe to drive your car until you have an opportunity to fix it.

If you notice oil leaking on to the ground beneath your car after it is parked, you do not have a small leak, and it needs to be found and repaired as soon as possible. Any leak, of course, means your oil level is dropping as you drive the car. If you have a leak, be sure to check your oil more frequently than usual so you do not run low on oil and damage the engine.

When replacing a valve cover gasket keep in mind:

  • The mechanical components of a car engine will typically outlive the gaskets used to seal the engine. However, many of these gaskets, including the valve cover gaskets, are relatively easy to replace.
  • Never add stop leak type products to engine oil or other vehicle fluids. Not only are these materials not approved or specified by the original equipment manufacturers, but they also can create additional problems that may be costly to repair.
  • Often, if a car is old enough to have a valve cover oil leak, there will be oil leaks elsewhere on the engine, so you should request a complete leak inspection. It may be more cost effective to repair multiple leaks during one service call.
  • Often, the PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) valve is inserted into a rubber grommet in one of the valve covers. An old rubber grommet is a potential leak source, as well as connections to the PCV valve. These components should be inspected and considered for replacement while there is access to the valve cover.

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Ford Explorer Valve Cover Gasket Replacement

A valve cover gasket replacement is an engine service that varies in cost depending on the year, make, and model of your car.

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Average Shop Price $428

RepairSmith Price $243

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Learn more about Valve Cover Gaskets

RepairSmith offers upfront and competitive pricing. The average cost for Ford Explorer Valve Cover Gasket Replacement is $461. Drop it off at our shop and pick it up a few hours later, or save time and have our Delivery mechanics come to you.

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2002 Ford Explorer

4.6L V8 • 164,000 miles

Henderson ,  NV 89074

$178 - $218

Ford logo

2004 Ford Explorer

4.0L V6 • 166,000 miles

Long Beach ,  CA 90807

$346 - $422

Ford logo

2002 Ford Explorer

4.0L V6 • 115,300 miles

Los Angeles ,  CA 90034

$487 - $595

Ford logo

2006 Ford Explorer

4.0L V6 • 130,000 miles

Vista ,  CA 92083

$311 - $381

Ford logo

2006 Ford Explorer

4.0L V6 • 200,000 miles

Cedar Hill ,  TX 75104

$275 - $337

Ford logo

2015 Ford Explorer

3.5L V6 Turbo • 3,500 miles

La Puente ,  CA 91744

$818 - $1,000

Ford logo

2004 Ford Explorer

4.0L V6 • 143,000 miles

Peoria ,  AZ 85381

$319 - $389

Ford logo

2003 Ford Explorer

4.0L V6 Eddie Bauer • 206,000 miles

Murrieta ,  CA 92562

$439 - $537

Ford logo

2002 Ford Explorer

4.0L V6 • 128,600 miles

Las Vegas ,  NV 89148

$415 - $507

Ford logo

2002 Ford Explorer

4.0L V6 • 135,000 miles

Santee ,  CA 92071

$555 - $679

Last Updated:
Sep 7, 2021 4:16 PM

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What is a Valve Cover Gasket?

Let’s treat this like a two-part question. First: What is a valve cover? A valve cover is a metal or plastic component that covers your car’s valve train and sits on top of the cylinder heads. It serves the purpose of keeping dirt, dust, and debris from entering the cylinder heads, and also the extremely vital purpose of keeping motor oil from leaking into the engine when it should not. Second: What’s a gasket? A gasket is a common car term, so make a note. It’s really just a seal. So, in this case, the valve cover gasket is a seal on the valve cover. It’s what creates a seamless connection between the valve cover and the cylinder head. But the gaskets - which are usually made of rubber - can wear out over time as with many car parts. The gasket can get worn thin, or crack, and it will fail to form a perfect seal. And when that happens, it’s time for a replacement.

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Symptoms of a failing Valve Cover Gasket


Cars have a lot of fluids. There’s oil, coolant, and brake fluid, just to name a few. So, if you see a leak, you won’t be able to tell what is immediately wrong. But, you should be able to tell that something is wrong. That something could be the valve cover gasket. The valve cover seals in the motor oil, which means that when the gasket breaks, the oil will start leaking out. When that happens, it may end up under your car, where you should be able to notice it.

Low oil level

If a broken valve cover gasket leads to oil leaks, what do you think that might mean for your oil level? It's good to get in the habit of checking your fluid levels. It only takes a few minutes, and it can help you catch issues before they become bigger, more expensive issues. If you notice that your car is getting low on oil, it could be due to a leak. And that leak could be from the valve cover gasket.

Engine performance problems

While the oil that leaks out from a broken valve cover gasket often falls straight to the ground, it can also end up going into the wrong parts of the engine. It’s fairly common for motor oil to leak onto your car’s spark plugs if the seal in the valve cover isn’t functioning properly. When that happens, your engine is likely to start misfiring. You’ll notice it in the form of poor performance when you’re accelerating, and also a gunshot-like noise.

Burning smell

We all know that leaks are bad, and so are mysterious burning smells. If your car smells funny, something is most likely wrong. Unless it's coming from your bag of gym clothes. When oil leaks through a broken valve cover gasket, it often drips onto the engine, where it burns. So, if your nose picks up a weird burning scent, you might have a valve cover gasket issue.

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How urgent is a Valve Cover Gasket replacement?

If your car has a valve cover gasket that isn’t doing it’s job, it’s still safe to drive, as long as you still have a decent level of oil. Now, that doesn’t mean the repair isn’t urgent. Oil dripping onto the engine can cause damage, and the smell and performance of the car won’t be great, so you should get it replaced sooner than later.

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1-Year | 12,000-Mile Warranty


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Ford explorer valve cover gasket

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Changing Valve Cover Gaskets and Spark Plugs PT 1 - 2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac

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