Symptoms of Burnt, Bad, or Defective Valve Seals

The engine is the most critical part of your car and cannot function properly without valve seals. Automobiles have many types of valves, all of which perform unique but essential functions to help your car run smoothly. Many of these parts are made of durable rubber, but that does not mean they will last forever.

A faulty valve seal can substantially affect the performance of your vehicle. For this reason, it’s best to learn how to spot the symptoms of broken valve seals and who to hold liable for this repair. Common burnt valve symptoms include the appearance of blue-white smoke, excessive oil consumption, and poor engine performance. If the valve seals on your new or newly purchased vehicle are defective, you may be entitled to compensation under your state’s lemon laws. 

Robison Lemon Law Group advocates for consumers with a new or newly purchased vehicle that is inoperable or requires extensive repairs due to a manufacturing defect. Under state and federal lemon laws, consumers with a car that meets this description (i.e., is a “lemon”) may be eligible for a refund or a replacement vehicle. Our skilled team of lemon law lawyers investigates these claims and seeks justice on behalf of consumers. 

What Are Valve Seals?

Vehicles have a number of valves and valve seals littered throughout the engine to help it efficiently and safely accomplish its function. 

For example, every gas-powered car has cylinders that generate the force to power the vehicle. At the top of each cylinder are camshafts that hold a collection of valves. Intake valves allow air or fuel to enter the cylinder when needed, whereas exhaust valves allow fumes to escape the cylinder. 

The seals on the valves help ensure that nothing gets in or out that should not be part of the process. For example, the exhaust valve has a seal that allows gases to exit the cylinder but prevents other substances, like oil, from entering the cylinder and disrupting the combustion process. 

Another type of valve seal (called a valve stem seal) helps lubricate the valve stem by controlling the amount of oil on it, either by removing or steadily applying it. 

In a fuel-powered engine, all seals must function properly and be in good condition to conserve energy and prevent inadvertent issues from arising. When valve seals experience damage due to excessive heat, erosion, or a defect, it can have severe consequences for the unsuspecting consumer. 

What Are Common Symptoms of Bad Valve Seals?

Identifying burnt, eroded, or defective valve seals early on is crucial to avoid adverse impacts on your car’s engine. Three common symptoms of a bad valve seal include the following:

  • The appearance of blue-white smoke, 
  • Excessive oil consumption, and 
  • A poorly performing engine. 

If your car shows these symptoms or others causing you alarm, take proactive steps to address the problem. Car troubles won’t go away on their own. Further, burnt valve seals can have terrible consequences and potentially lead to accidents. 

If you recently purchased your car and it has repeated issues with its valve seals, it may be due to a manufacturing defect. Under most state lemon laws, consumers may be eligible for a refund or replacement vehicle if their car requires repeated repairs because of a defective part. A lemon law attorney can help determine if your car’s burnt valve symptoms entitle you to compensation.

1. Blue-White Smoke

One of the most noticeable symptoms of poor valve seals is the appearance of blue-white smoke. Pay attention to the fumes emitting from the tailpipe when you start your car in the morning. If the valve seals are not working correctly, the engine’s combustion chamber will suck down residual oil when the vehicle first starts. If this happens, it causes a significant amount of blue-white smoke to billow from your tailpipe shortly after the car starts.

2. Excessive Oil Consumption

One of the functions of valve seals is to prevent oil from improperly entering the engine. Burnt or defective valve stem seals cannot perform this function adequately, causing your car to consume oil excessively.

A dipstick can help determine whether your vehicle consumes too much oil. If your levels drop faster than usual, this could indicate a problem with your valve seals.

Excessive oil consumption is one of the most serious symptoms of a bad engine valve seal because it can cause additional damage. In the court case Kucher v. Daimler Chrysler Corporation, the plaintiff needed to replace his car’s engine because of damage caused by excessive oil consumption.

3. Poorly Performing Engine

A poorly performing engine is a common car complaint that you should not take lightly.

In fact, it’s one of the main symptoms of a burnt exhaust valve. Valves that are not sealed correctly are exposed to hot combustion gases. If you do not address this issue promptly, the valves can start to burn, leading to engine misfiring, rough idling, or reduced power.

How Do You Know if a Defect Caused a Burnt Valve Seal?

State and federal lemon laws may entitle you to compensation if your valve seal is defective because of an error committed by the manufacturer rather than due to neglect or consumer-side mistakes. But how do you know if a defect is causing a burnt valve seal?

One way to make this determination is to conduct an investigation or do so through the help of an attorney. You can talk to a trusted mechanic to see what is causing the valves to deteriorate or malfunction. Additionally, you might perform research to see if this is a common problem among these vehicles. Further, regularly taking the car in to have issues addressed can show that the problem is not due to neglect on your part. 

Lemon law lawyers routinely help clients conduct these types of investigations to discover the underlying cause of a persistent car issue. 

Who Is Liable for Burnt Valve Seals Under Lemon Laws?

When burnt valve seals are defective on a new or used car, state lemon laws or the federal warranty law (the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act) may entitle consumers to compensation. These laws typically apply if the consumer has been unable to fix the car after they make a certain number of repair attempts and the vehicle is under a specific age or mileage on the odometer.  

Lemon laws protect consumers who have purchased new or used cars with defective parts. If your vehicle’s defect is covered, you could be entitled to a full refund or replacement vehicle.

Do Lemon Laws Cover Valve Seals on New Cars?

Most lemon laws provide legal protection for consumers who purchase a new vehicle. That said, not all state lemon laws protect consumers against faulty valve seals on new cars. Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, and New Jersey all have new car lemon laws that protect consumers who purchase new vehicles with significant defects. 

In many cases, defective valve seals are covered if they substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value, or safety. The vehicle must meet other requirements outlined by the new car lemon law, such as that the car is used for personal, family, or household purposes.

Are Valve Seals on Used Cars Covered Under Lemon Laws?

Some states cover valve seals on used cars purchased or leased from used car dealerships. For example, the lemon laws in New York and New Jersey cover used cars. That said, each state has its own rules regarding which car parts are covered by these laws. 

The New Jersey used car lemon law explicitly states that all seals in the engine are covered, but the New York used car lemon law does not. However, the New York law does cover lubricated engine parts, which could include valve stem seals since they play a role in lubrication.

The New York law also allows the dealer to exclude certain types of coverage from the warranty, including valve repair caused by normal wear and tear and some maintenance services related to seals. If your contract includes these terms, obtaining a refund or replacement vehicle for a bad valve seal could be more challenging. 

But the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act could cover defects that the lemon laws do not cover in your situation.

The laws regarding vehicle recalls and repairs are complex, so it’s best to speak to an attorney about your legal options if you spot the symptoms of bad valve guides or seals.

Questions About Burnt Valve Symptoms?

A burnt, defective, or eroded valve can significantly affect your car’s ability to transport you and your loved ones safely. The skilled team of attorneys at Robison Lemon Law Group is here to answer your questions regarding the symptoms of bad valve stem seals. 

Emma Robison has devoted her career to fighting for consumers, so they are not stuck with vehicles that are inoperable, unsafe, or in constant need of repairs. She understands how important it is for consumers like you to have an advocate standing up for their best interests. Past clients praise Robison Lemon Law Group for thoroughly informing them of their rights, fearlessly advocating for them, and getting the results and answers they need. 

To schedule a free consultation, contact us today via email or call us at 844-291-4377. Our firm does not charge a dime to review or handle lemon law claims. 

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