One component of a BMW that is especially prone to damage is the PCV valve. PCV valve failure can have serious consequences for your vehicle, which means it is vital that you know potential causes of PCV valve issues so that you can avoid them.
The Purpose of the PCV Valve
The PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) valve is part of your vehicle’s larger PCV system. This system is responsible for pulling harmful vapors from your BMW’s engine and directing them into the intake manifold so that they are not released into the atmosphere.
In order to do this, it uses a hose to circulate filtered air through the engine. As this air passes through the engine, it collects any lingering vapors and forces them through a connecting hose into the intake manifold. There, the vapors combust alongside your vehicle’s fuel.
The PCV valve regulates the amount of air that passes through this system. Therefore, if it fails, so too will the rest of the system. This can lead to engine misfires, decreased fuel economy, check engine light illumination, oil leaks, and more.
Common Causes of PCV Valve Issues
The PCV valve can fail in one of two ways: it can either become stuck in the open position or become stuck in the closed position. These two problems tend to stem from very different causes. For example, a common reason that PCV valves become stuck in the closed position is because they are clogged. Although the PCV valve tends to work with clean, filtered air, the system isn’t perfect and can sometimes become contaminated. If this problem is left unaddressed, the contaminants will build up over time and clog the valve shut, causing engine surges and oil leaks.
Alternatively, when a PCV valve becomes stuck in the open position, it is usually due to the effects of age. Over time, the PCV valve and its related components are exposed to extreme temperatures and pressures. Prolonged exposure to these forces can cause these parts to swell, stick in place, or even grow brittle and crack. This can create vacuum leaks, which, in turn, lead to engine misfiring and increased oil usage.
A third factor that may cause both kinds of PCV valve failure is human error. Although BMW is known for being high-quality vehicles, there is still a chance that your BMW’s manufacturing facility may have accidentally installed a faulty PCV valve in your vehicle. This is comparatively rare, but if it happens to you, you should have your vehicle’s PCV valve replaced as soon as possible so that you can safely drive your vehicle.
Preventing and Fixing PCV Valve Failure
Fortunately, most PCV valve issues can be prevented by regularly bringing your vehicle to a mechanic for maintenance. On average, experts recommend having the PCV valve replaced every 30,000 miles on average. Following this schedule will allow you and your mechanic to discover and fix most PCV valve problems before they can cause serious damage to your vehicle.
Of course, vehicle issues rarely follow a strict schedule, and your BMW’s PCV valve may show signs of failure long before the 30,000 mile mark. If this happens, you should bring your vehicle to a technician to have the problem solved as soon as possible.
The PCV valve is too complicated of a component to be fixed at home, but if the situation is left unaddressed, it can cause serious harm to you, your vehicle, and the environment. Therefore, the best way to fix a broken PCV valve is by having a professional handle it.
How We Can Help
When it comes to vehicle repairs, we know that efficiency and quality are of the utmost importance. At Momentum Motorworks, our ASE certified mechanics have the experience and tools necessary to get your vehicle back to excellent condition as soon as possible.
For 21 years, we have provided exemplary service to customers in and around Alabaster, Homewood, Helena, Hoover, Mountain Brook, Vestavia, and Birmingham, AL. We would love to make you our next satisfied customer, so give us a call for a convenient appointment or stop by our shop today.