To keep your vehicle running optimally, you need to keep it well-maintained. And when it comes to maintaining the cars, most motorists skimp on the engine. They hold back on the valve job, which eventually leads to low engine performance. But how much does a valve job cost? Is it too pricy, to begin with?
A single valve job replacement costs anywhere from $100 to $200. And when you want to do a complete car valve job, it will be between $900 and $2000. Valve jobs are often expensive because they take time and effort, increasing labor costs.
But what exactly is a valve job? And when do you need to do a valve job on your vehicle? If you want to learn all about these and more, you must keep reading!
What Is a Valve Job?
Well, all the piston engine functions in one way. Their intake and exhaust require valves, which close and open at the right time. The valve opens during the intake, where the engine draws a fresh mixture of air and fuel vapor. On the other hand, the valve closes during the exhaust, where the engine releases the burned gases.
Nonetheless, engines have different ways to complete the intake and exhaust cycle. For example, the slide valves in the old car models will rely on friction. The same is applicable for disc or rotating-ball disc valves. As these rely on friction, they do not last long.
And as the valves degrade, the combustion heat makes it quite challenging for the sliding surface to stay lubricated. The case is pretty much the same for the valves that utilize other intake and exhaust cycle methods. That is, they wear out and eventually face degradation in terms of performance.
That is where the valve job steps in. In short, the process involves removing the engine’s cylinder heads. Afterward, the valves, seats, and guides are refurbished. When the job is complete, the oil control and compression rate are restored, allowing the engine to offer near-new performance.
What Does the Mechanic Do When Carrying Out a Valve Job?
So, the mechanic must go through some specific steps to perform a valve job. Here is a short description of each step to give you a better idea of the process:
Step 1: Disassemble, Clean, and Inspect
The first step for the valve job is to disassemble, clean, and inspect the cylinder head. This step might involve using a strong magnetic field and utilizing iron powder. Also, the mechanic will take care of any cracks that are present in the valves at this step.
Furthermore, sometimes, the heads might go through a pressure test to ensure no leaks are present. And to ensure that leaks do not come up in the future, mechanics will apply a sealer compound to the water jackets.
Step 2: Check for Flatness of the Heads
The surface of the head needs to be flat. Otherwise, the head gasket will not seal against the block. If there is excessive roughness, warpage, or damage on the gasket, they will fail to offer a proper seal. And to solve these issues, mechanics can resurface the heads or replace them entirely.
But the good news is most of the heads will have enough metal for resurfacing. So, even if your engine has damaged heads, you do not really need to worry too much about bearing the replacement cost.
Step 3: Inspect the Valves, Seats, and Guides
After flatness is taken care of, the mechanic will see the overall condition of the guides, valves, and seats. First, the professional will check for wear in the guides. In most cases, they will be. So, they will either replace them or reline them.
Then, the mechanic will focus on the valves. And will check whether they are to be reused or not. If so, they will go through a proper inspection. Moreover, they will also check for straightness and reface the valves if needed.
However, to reduce the risk of future failure, most shops will replace all the exhaust valves. Although it increases the cost of the process, the extra expenditure is generally worth it.
Finally, the professional will work on the seats. They are either ground or cut to restore the sealing surface. But if the seal has cracks or is badly worn, the seats need replacement.
Step 4: Test the Valve Springs
Once the guides, seats, and valves are taken care of, the mechanic will inspect and test the valve springs. This process will ensure that the springs can maintain the right amount of pressure.
In addition, the keepers, retainers, and other related hardware will go through the same inspection. If there are any worn-out or damaged parts, they will suggest replacements.
Step 5: Installation of the Valves
Finally, the mechanic will install the valves to the head and shim them to the proper height. Maintaining the right height is essential as the seats and valves naturally alter their dimensions.
When Do You Need to Do a Valve Job?
Some valve job symptoms can tell you when you need it. Here is a quick look at the most common ones:
- Popping or Ticking Noises
When the engine is having problems with the valves, you will hear popping or ticking noises.
- Blue Smoke Comes out from the Tailpipe
A classic sign of engine problems is the blue smoke. Although, it does not directly dictate that there are problems with the valve. But when it combines with popping or ticking noises, you can be sure that it is time for a valve job.
- Engine Power Loss
You will notice a lack of acceleration power after engaging the gas pedal. Usually, it means that the valve seals and piston rings have problems and need to be inspected.
- Excessive Oil Consumption
The oil keeps all the engine components lubricated, which is essential for smooth functioning. However, when the engine starts to consume an excessive amount of oil, it means that the friction is not handled properly. It can also mean that there are problems with the valve seals.
When there are issues with the valve, your car will idle for a prolonged time. In this case, there will be a high amount of vacuum in the intake manifold. And it states that you need a valve job.
- Off Throttle Braking
Engine braking involves deploying different methods to slow the car’s acceleration. It helps to halt your vehicle quickly. And you can gauge whether the valve is faulty by throttle braking. For example, if the accelerator pedal remains static when descending from a steep, it means there may be issues with the valve.
So, how much does a valve job cost again? Well, the average cost is between $900 and $2000. But in terms of the 3-angle valve job cost, the average is around $250, which includes resurfacing. However, the thing that plays a crucial role in cylinder head valve job cost is the labor. It will vary from one shop to another.
Hello, I’m Michael Rosales an expert in cars. As a little boy, I have always loved cars. Over the years I became lucky to have the opportunity to work as a car dealer. It was at this stage I became vast in the knowledge of cars, things you need to know when buying cars and how to minimize cost while still getting your dream car.