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Sticking Valves

I recently took my 03 WRX with 120k miles to the dealer for a check engine light and was told the valves are sticking and is the cause of the the light coming on. The tech told me the only thing I may notice is a rough idle, but nothing serious would occur. Can you confirm that leaving the issue unressolved will not cause further problems down the road? Is it worth it for me to have it repaired for the cost of $2,000?

That’s an odd problem - would you please post the codes your computer’s generating? I don’t know how the computer would diagnose ‘sticking valves’.

Did the mechanic give you the error code, or can you get it from them, and let us know what it is? There is no checks on the valves opening and closing that would set off a CEL on any car that I know of.

Also, valves that are directly actuated by the cam shaft lobe like what is in your car, can not stick. It is physically impossible.

Try another dealer, or bring your car over to an Autozone that can attach a reader to your car, and give you the code causing the error message.


Bladecutter makes a very good point.
Since the engine in this car has overhead camshafts, the issue of sticking valves is not possible.
Any decent mechanic would know this, leading to only two possible conclusions:

The tech is not competent
or–more likely–
He does not know what is wrong, and is simply snowing you

And, as both texases and BC mentioned, no codes exist for sticking valves. This dealership sounds like a bad one.

I can’t imagine how a mechanic could diagnose sticking valves without getting very deeply into the engine. Sticky valves can be expected on engines which have sat for long periods or were poorly assembled with guides/valves replaced. And if the engine were able to run, a sticking valve might soon be a burned valve.