Ask Bob: Is It Really a Do-It-Yourself Auto Repair Project?

by Bob DeP.

I have a 1988 Mazda 323 with 120k. I have oil leaking from the gasket around the valve cover just above the sparkplugs. I want to take off the valve cover and replace the gasket. The cover is easy to get to on top of the engine and has 6 screws holding it on. Is this a Do-it-youself kind of job? I know that if I get any dirt in the engine I'll be shopping for a new engine, but it seems that it would be easy to just pull off the cover replace the seal and screw the cover back on. I would hate to pay some guy $60 an hour to do this.

I tell all my readers the same thing. Review the service manual thoroughly. Look at the components in question. If it looks like something that you can handle, then go for it, but remember to buy all parts before hand. And don't wait till night or a Sunday to do the job. Buy all the parts during the week, and then start bright and early on a Saturday. This way, you have plenty of time and if you need to get additional parts, the stores are still open. Now, changing a valve cover gasket is fairly easy, but like you mentioned, watch out for dirt entering the engine while it is apart.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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