Do Valve Covers Need High Temp Paint? (Explained)

After driving for several thousand miles, the valve cover on your car may look worn out and stained with grease, oil, and dirt.

If you are the kind of car owner who prefers better aesthetics even under the hood, you may consider painting the valve cover to give it a more appealing look.

The first thing that you will need to do is choose a suitable paint. You can opt for regular paint, but when the thought of how hot the engine cylinder gets, you may shift interest to high temp paint.

When you do some research, you will come across conflicting opinions about whether you should use regular or high temp paint. This is what we will address in today’s post.

valve cover

Should You Use High Temp Paint on Valve Covers?

Absolutely. For most cars, the engine temperature usually ranges from 195 to 220 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures are pretty high, so you should use high temp paint.

Unlike regular paint, high temp paint is formulated to withstand extreme temperatures. In a scenario where regular paint will fade or peel when exposed to these high temperatures, high temp paint will withstand the heat.

There are plenty of reasons you should use high temp paint on valve covers. With this type of paint, you are assured of durability.

Since it won’t peel off quickly when exposed to high temperatures, this type of paint should last on your valve cover for the longest time possible. In the long run, it will save you a lot of valuable time that would have been used on touch-ups.

Can I Use Regular Spray Paint on Valve Covers?

Yes, you can, but it’s not advisable. Most spray paints, especially those made in the past decade, have a high-temperature tolerance of around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

When you read on the can of regular spray paint that it can withstand the heat of up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, you may be tempted to use it on your valve covers.

However, car engines can get as hot as 230 degrees Fahrenheit. When that happens, your regular spray paint will be no match for such a high temperature.

The other thing is that regular paint isn’t designed to continuously be exposed to such high temperatures. The valve cover will always be in contact with heat as long as the car is being driven. It’s only high temp paint that can take up the heat for a long without being affected.

Even though a lot of people have and continue to use regular spray paint on valve covers, you should avoid doing so.

Doing so will result in early fading or peeling of the paint, forcing you to keep on touching it up every time. It will be more convenient for you to use high temp paint that will hold up better and for longer.

Also, high temp paints are widely available in stores near you. Alternatively, you can order one online. And they are available in a wide range of colors.

How to Apply High Temp Paint on Valve Covers?

Having already established that high temp paint is the best type to use on valve covers. The painting method also determines how good the paint looks and how long it will last. Valve covers can be tricky to paint. But with professional advice, you should get it right.

1st Step – Remove the Valve Cover from the Engine Cylinder

You can’t paint the valve cover when it’s still attached to the engine cylinder. You must detach it first. Removing a valve cover should be pretty straightforward because it’s often attached using around six to eight bolts.

Locate these bolts and unscrew them. In some vehicles, the spark plugs must also be removed to free the valve cover. Remove them carefully while taking note of the position of each spark plug. You can number them so you don’t forget when it’s time to install the spark plugs.

Gently lift the valve cover and set it aside. You can also take this opportunity to examine the condition of the gasket. Should it be broken, you can find a replacement.

2nd Step – Spray a Paint Stripper

If the valve cover was already painted, you should remove the old paint before spraying a new one. That’s where a paint stripper comes in.

it also helps remove dirt and stubborn grease stains. Spray and brush it thoroughly. Make sure you wear gloves because paint strippers can harm the skin.

3rd Step – Rinse the Valve Cover

Having confirmed that the old paint has been removed, rinse the cover with a pressure washer. You must rinse every part of the valve cover. That guarantees the surface is clean, and there are no contaminants that can lead to adhesion problems.

4th Step – Sand the Cover

Using preferably 600-grit sandpaper, sand the surface of the valve cover until it’s smooth and dull. Sanding is crucial in the painting process since it promotes better adhesion. When you are done sanding, spray a degreaser and clean it off with a microfiber towel.

5th Step – Mask Tape Crucial Areas on the Valve Covers

Certain parts on the valve cover shouldn’t be sprayed with high temp paint. A good example is bolt holes. These need to be covered with masking tape. Also, if some emblems are on the cover, they should be mask taped.

6th Step – Spray the High Temp Paint

As mentioned earlier, getting high temp paint these days is pretty easy. You can visit an auto store near your home or order some online. You will need at least three to four coats of high temp paint. Make sure that you buy several cans.

It would be best to give each coat ten minutes before spraying another. When you are done, leave the painted valve cover to dry for 24 to 48 hours. When you install it too soon, the paint may not adhere well.

7th Step – Set the Paint by Placing the Painted Valve Cover Near a Heat Source

Before installing the painted valve cover, it should be placed near a heat source for the paint to set. You can put it in an oven for 20 minutes at a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the valve cover cool down before putting it back onto the engine cylinder.

Should You Spray Primer Before High Temp Paint?

For a valve cover, primer isn’t necessary. But it can help with better adhesion. If you have some primer and the time to spray it on, you can use it to promote better adhesion to paint. While we are still on primer, it pays off to use a high-temperature primer.

Are High Temp Paints Available in Different Colors?

The main reason people paint their valve covers is to improve aesthetics. Therefore, multiple color choices contribute to the type of paint one will use. A while back, you couldn’t find high temp paints in multiple colors. But that’s not the case anymore.

Today you can get high temp paint in almost all colors. Therefore, it doesn’t matter which color you would like to paint your valve color. You are assured of getting it.

Can You Spray Automotive Paint on Valve Covers?

It’s not shocking to come across covers that have been painted using automotive paint. This type of paint can also hold up on valve covers despite the heat it’s exposed to.

But the valve covers must be adequately prepared, primed, and painted for it to last. Regarding durability, you can’t be very confident with automotive paint because it wasn’t designed for such an environment.

Will High Temp Paint Interfere with the Functioning of Valve Covers?

Not really. The primary purpose of a valve cover and gasket is to ensure oil remains in the engine. Therefore, painting it will not affect its functionality unless you break or modify it. Paint will spice up the looks and won’t offer any benefits regarding performance.

When Should You Paint a Valve Cover?

Before we share reasons why one should paint valve covers, it’s essential to know when to replace this part of your engine. Generally, valve colors wear out due to dirt and stains from grease and oil.

Painting the valve covers is one of the ways to make them look better. However, after around 50,000 miles, valve covers may need to be replaced.

Covers that are excessively worn out will leak oil, affecting engine performance. Before painting a valve cover, you need to evaluate the extent of wear.

If it’s significantly worn out, you can get a new valve cover and paint it. But if there is no damage on the cover, you can revamp its look with a high temp paint job.

What Do Professionals Use to Paint Valve Covers?

Experts at an auto paint shop will use high temp paint on the valve covers. They will use this type of paint because it’s more resistant to heat.

Painting valve covers is a relatively easy job, and there is no need to incur extra costs of paying someone to do it unless you are very busy.

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