Valve Cover gasket leak

My '93 Buick LeSabre has had a valve cover gasket leak for some time; 125,000 miles on engine. Last week, smoked under hood from it, after only driving it 5 miles…then it stopped after burning off. Oil level stays same, but smoke concerned me. Is it dangerous to drive, fire-wise? Do I need the $208 valve gasket garage-quoted repair?

It’s more of a nuisance. It’s difficult for the oil to actually catch fire. If it was easy…my 84 S-15 would have gone up in smoke in the first couple of years.

Replacing a valve cover gasket on fi cars is a pain because there’s usually a lot more junk to remove just to get to the gasket. Since the car is so old I wouldn’t worry about it. Valve covers don’t leak that much oil. If it gets worse then you can reconsider having it fixed.

Thanks, Mike, you’ve helped a senior lady.
Appreciate it.

On cars that have their sparkplugs in “wells” surrounded by the valve cover a valve cover can leak and fill up these “wells”.Not your case BMW V-8’s will do this.

Consider inspecting the PCV valve before doing anything. A clogged up PCV will pressure up the crankcase and can cause a number of oil leaks. The PCV is dirt cheap, easy to install, and should be part of a regular inspection.

It’s not a bad idea to simply check the valve cover bolts and make sure they’re snug at the same time.