What Are Valve Stem Seals?


Efficient valve stem seals play an important role in the use of oil in a vehicle's engine. When not working properly, faulty valve stem seals may cause a variety of problems.


  • Valve stem seals control the amount of oil lubrication that is provided to the valve train and ultimately the combustion chamber. This process is crucial for maintaining engine health and productivity.


  • A valve stem seal has a lip that helps control the amount of oil on it as it maneuvers by continually wiping away the excess. At the same time, the seal allows oil to move past it and lubricate the valve guides. Multiple factors in the engine's environment contribute to the amount of oil that is needed at any given time.


  • If a valve stem seal begins to fail, either too much or too little oil is allowed past the seal and multiple problems may arise. With limited oil flow, engines may experience problems with overheating or spark plug issues. When too much oil passes through the valve there may be an increase in hydrocarbon emissions, as well as damage to the catalytic converter. In addition, debris from old seals may clog oil passages.

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  • Photo Credit car engine image by itsallgood from Fotolia.com
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