Engine Ventilation 101: All About Your PCV Valve
You may have heard the acronym “PCV” before, but, for many, that’s as far as your familiarity goes. Though you likely don’t know what it stands for, or the purpose it serves, don’t beat yourself up over it – a lot of us are in the same boat. The three letters relate to your PCV valve, a critical piece of your engine.
What Is a PCV Valve?
The “PCV” in PCV valve stands for “positive crankcase ventilation.” The key here is “ventilation.” This is the main purpose of the valve: to safely ventilate gas fumes. When your fuel is burned, it pushes down your engine’s pistons, rotating the crankshaft that powers your car. This entire system is called a “crankcase.” After fuel is burned, many of the resulting toxic gases remain.
Historically, these gases were funneled out of the vehicle, but this was harmful on the environment. Enter: the PCV valve. Instead of getting rid of the gas, it’s pushed back into the engine. Because 70 percent of the gas is unburned and would otherwise clog your oil, it makes sense to recirculate it rather than pollute the environment unnecessarily.
When Should I Get My PCV Valve Replaced?
PCV valves are known to clog and break down over time. When this occurs, it can’t do its job of circulating air, requiring replacement to get things functioning properly again. Because of the wear this valve undergoes, it should be replaced every 20,000 to 50,000 miles. If you don’t keep up on your oil changes, you could see a decline in effectiveness much earlier.
It’s easy to forget about your PCV valve – keeping in mind how little most of us know about it. But there are a few obvious signs that yours isn’t working properly:
- Seals or gaskets have blown out
- Sludge has built up around your engine
- Oil leaks are noticeable
- Your check engine light is on (often a sign your PCV valve is open)
- A whistling noise is coming from the engine area
How Does PCV Valve Replacement Work?
Replacement of a PCV valve is simple for your Kennedy Transmission technicians. So, if you’re concerned about your PCV valve, drop on by – use our shop locator to find the shop nearest you. Our technicians will take a look to determine if replacement is needed, and we’ll get you back on the road in no time.