Gas prices determine many of our choices in travel and in our vehicles. For example, we know we can afford a more expensive vehicle if we can make it up with better gas mileage. One of the little-known secrets of excellent gas mileage is the work of the PCV valve, which helps ensure that your engine does not waste any combustible gasses.
WHAT DOES THE PCV VALVE DO?
The Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) valve has a single purpose in your engine. It moves any excess gasses from the crankcase, the large cavity below your cylinders, and sends them to your intake manifold. There in the intake manifold, they are burned up by the engine as part of the normal combustion process. These gases are a source of combustion for the engine and are sent there to be burnt as fuel instead of being released into the atmosphere. This effectively makes your PCV valve part of your gas mileage system as well as an eco-friendly safety system, cutting down on pollution and keeping you from accidentally inhaling any unhealthy fumes.
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOUR PCV VALVE IS NOT WORKING?
There are 3 main signs that your PCV valve is not functioning correctly:
OIL AND SLUDGE LEAKS
If you notice leaking oil or a buildup of sludge material in the engine compartment or underneath the car, this may be a symptom of a malfunctioning PCV valve.
HISSING NOISES FROM THE ENGINE
If you hear hissing noises that seem to originate from the engine, your PCV valve may not be working correctly, and the gasses may not be getting to the combustion center of the engine.
POORLY RUNNING CAR
If your car does not have it’s normal ‘get up and go’ or you are experiencing poor gas mileage, your PCV valve may be failing.
HOW DO YOU FIX A MALFUNCTIONING PCV VALVE?
Replacing a PCV valve is not a difficult task, though it can be difficult to reach in some models.
1. Disconnect the vacuum hose from the engine. From there you can get to the PCV valve.
2. Remove it and replace it. The PCV valve typically costs between $50-$60.
3. Replace the PCV hose if necessary – ($30-50)
4. Reinstall the vacuum hose
There may be sludge and oil buildup around the valve so you will need to have appropriate cleaning supplies on hand.
CAN YOU FIX THIS YOURSELF?
This is potentially a Do-It-Yourself kind of project. However, to get the longest life out of your PCV Valve, you may want a professional auto technician to inspect your vehicle and clean out any of the sludge buildups which often causes PCV valves to fail in the first place.
More importantly, oil leaks and low gas mileage can be caused by a number of different engine problems, and it may not be your PCV valve causing the problem, or there may be other mitigating factors included as well that you are unable to diagnose yourself. Having your PCV valve serviced is not an expensive operation, and you can typically have it done for less than $150 unless there are other problems with your engine.
AUTOBAHN AUTOMOTIVE KEEPS YOUR MINI RUNNING STRONG
Our European automotive specialists here at Autobahn Automotive have provided quality auto service to the areas of San Antonio, Longhorn, TX for years. We have experts on repairing and maintaining Minis, and you can feel secure with the work of our certified technicians. Autobahn Automotive takes a preventive approach to servicing your Mini, which helps to keep you safe and save you money on costly repairs. We do this by performing regular inspections as part of our typical maintenance plans for all our clients. If repairs are needed, our labor rates are 35% lower than the rates found at dealerships.
If you notice any oil leaks in your engine or under your vehicle, or if your engine is hissing and your car is running poorly – don’t wait, call our expert technicians today for an inspection. If you are curious about our qualifications for working with Minis, give us a call today. We stand ready to offer you top-notch service in European Automotives and provide you with the best driving experience in your Mini.
* Mini Cooper S image credit goes to:CasPhotography.
* Mini Cooper on Road image credit goes to:typhoonski.