How to Fix a Stuck Engine Valve

What You'll Need
Engine oil
Replacement parts, if necessary

If you have a stuck engine valve, your vehicle won’t run like it should. Although it sounds like a minor issue, this tiny valve can cause numerous problems — even engine failure. Instead of paying a mechanic to fix your car's stuck valve for you, follow these four steps to rectify the problem.

Step 1 – Inspecting

While the engine is cold, inspect the engine valve to see why it might be sticking. You should check your engine regularly for any signs of wear, like a stuck valve, to keep your car working at it's best.

If you don’t know what your valves should look like, check your manual for reference. If you find a buildup of debris, move on to step two. If your valve is defective, rather than dirty, skip to step three to repair it.

Step 2 – Cleaning

If the oil that’s been used in the engine has built up and hardened around the valve, it can get stuck. Where this is the case, apply a solvent available from a hardware store to clean it up. Apply the solvent by following the manufacturer’s directions, loosening some of the fasteners first if necessary.

Step 3 – Repairing and Replacing

If any of the components that are used to fix the engine valve in place have come loose or broken off, you must repair these. Find replacement parts at your local hardware store or online. Most of these parts can be replaced or tightened into place with just a pair of pliers or a wrench.

For more severe valve problems, like extra corrosion or broken pieces, you will likely need to remove the cylinders the valves are attached to. You can do so by first removing the fasteners and then lifting them out of place. To ensure you purchase the correct replacement parts, bring the broken parts into the store to have an employee help you match them.

Step 4 – Preventing Stuck Valves

To prevent the valves from sticking in the future, keep the oil in the engine topped to the correct level and change the oil regularly.