Today, we are talking about your PCV valve. The PCV Valve is a little, inexpensive part that does a key job for Boulder car owners. PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation.
The crankcase is the bottom area of the engine that holds the oil. When the family car engine’s running, fuel is burned to generate power. Most of the exhaust from combustion goes out through the exhaust system. But some exhaust blows by the pistons and goes into the lower engine, or crankcase.
These hot gases are about seventy percent unburned fuel. This can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause family car engine corrosion, something we see occasionally at John’s Auto Care. At high speeds on Boulder freeways, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak.
Back in the old days, auto makers simply installed a hose that vented these gases out into the atmosphere. But starting in the 1964 model year, environmental protection laws required that these gases be recycled back into the air intake system to be mixed with fuel and burned in the family car’s engine.
This is much better for air quality and improves fuel economy also. (Budget-conscious Boulder motorists take note!) The little valve that performs this important function is the PCV valve. The PCV valve lets detrimental gases out of the engine, but won’t let anything back in. Over time, the vented gases will gum up the PCV valve and it won’t work well. That can lead to all of the problems I’ve already described, oil leaks, excessive oil consumption and decreased gas mileage.
Fortunately, it’s very easy to test the PCV Valve at John’s Auto Care in Boulder and quick and inexpensive to replace. Even so, it’s often overlooked because many Boulder drivers don’t know about it. Check your family car owner’s manual or ask your John’s Auto Care service advisor. If this is the first time you’ve heard of a PCV valve, you might be in line for a replacement.
There’s another aspect to the PCV system. In order for the valve to work correctly, it needs a little clean air to come in. This is done through a breather tube that gets some filtered air from the engine air filter. Now some vehicles have a small separate air filter for the breather tube called the breather element. That’ll need to be replaced at John’s Auto Care when it gets dirty.
Please ask your cheerful Boulder service advisor about your PCV valve. For the price of a couple of burger combo meals in Boulder, you can avoid some very expensive engine repairs.