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Valve Cover Gasket Replacement

My 1997 Toyota Avalon has 88,000 miles. I just replaced the timing belt and the dealer said that the cam and crank seals have no leaks, so I did not replace them. The valve cover gaskets have a tiny leak (there is no descernible loss of oil between oil changes, and there is no oil spot on the garage floor). The Toyota dealer quotes $612.50 to replace the valve cover gaskets. Will it do any harm to the engine if I do not replace the gaskets until the leak becomes noticeable?

Unless it leaks in a place and enough to cause a fire, no. You would start smelling it long before then.

$612.50 to replace two valve cover gaskets?!

Take it to a reputable independent shop for this and future repairs. There is no justifiable reason to charge that much.

These are common problems on the Toyota V6. I had it done to my ES300 when several other things were needed (like spark plugs, which also requires the removal of the intake plenum. Also, and the valve cover was leaking enought to be a problem). If you don’t have to add oil (check regularly), and the drips or smoke isn’t a problem, then put it off, no harm done. Meanwhile, as other recommend, find a good independent shop.

With valve cover gasket leaks, you normally get burning oil odor before you get a spot on the floor. If you use synthetic oil, it smells pretty bad when it burns.

Holy crap! $600 for two valve cover gaskets? I’m amazed. Go to another mechanic or do it yourself. Rocketman

I just checked Advance Auto for a price . . . $21.99 for a set of two, including the six spark plug tube seals. And its a Felpro set, decent quality. Wow! Almost $600 in labor! Rocketman

They (the dealership) separate a nice chunk of change from you, or they scare you into trading in for a new car. It’s win-win for them, unless you walk away.

Some vehicles it’s a real pain just to get to the valve covers. There’s a lot of stuff in the way just to get to covers…especially with fuel-injection. I replaced the valve covers on my S-15 about 5 times…by the 5th time I could do it in about an hour…The first time took me almost 3…but I made a few simple modifications for future replacements that saved me a lot of time.