Oil control valves sometimes referred to as a variable valve timing solenoid, are found in cars with engines fitted with Variable Valve Technology. The ECM or engine control module controls the basic functioning of the oil control valve or OCV. The oil in your car engine ensures that all moving parts are adequately lubricated to avoid premature wear and tear.
Engine parts are usually connected with bearings, and specific parts have oil delivered to them to maintain lubrication as well as provide cooling. Clean oil enhances engine performance and reduces gas emissions. The oil control valve functions to ensure oil is delivered to the engine’s camshaft in engines equipped with variable valve technology at exactly the right camshaft position. Replacement cost for this engine technology varies by make and model of the vehicle.
What are oil control valves?
The Oil Control Valve or OCV is responsible for controlling the flow of oil into the variable valve timing VVT gears. The oil flow can be interrupted by a bad oil control valve, a plugged oil filter, or old oil sludge that has blocked the flow of oil. Car owners can easily avoid this problem by simply having the engine oil changed as per the instructions in the car manual that came with the car. Forgetting to change the oil can cause a blockage and can cause many components in your car engine to deteriorate more quickly than normal. The oil pump is also less efficient, which can cause the oil not to flow to all parts of the engine.
Top Bad Oil Control Valve Symptoms
Common symptoms of a bad control valve can cause valve components to overheat as well as increase the wear and tear on components. Bad symptoms can include poor engine performance, increased consumption of fuel, and a lack of acceleration. There may also be a burning smell around your engine, indicating a faulty timing oil control valve. Valve functions and malfunction symptoms are an indication of immediate inspection and repair requirements to avoid damage to your engine.
1. Bad engine performance
Maximum power is generated by the engine under load when the variable valve technology is operating to spec. If the OCV is not controlling the flow of oil optimally, the engine develops less power, especially under load such as heavy acceleration or climbing a grade.
Engine oil changes that are completed as per schedules called for in the owner’s manual usually do not exhibit poor engine performance. Old oil with many contaminants can block the oil filter as well as the oil control valve.
2. Lots of gasoline consumption
Gasoline consumption may also increase if the engine is not operating at peak efficiency. For example, if the variable timing valve components are not operating perfectly due to a bad oil control valve, the engine could burn more fuel than normal while not delivering the power levels the driver is normally used to. Exhaust valves may open and close at the wrong time allowing unburnt fuel to escape, which in turn means less power is delivered to the drive shaft of your car. Additionally, other components may also be damaged, causing further increases in gasoline consumption. There would be an indication of poor fuel economy under these conditions.
3. Lack of car acceleration power
The objective of the Oil Control Valve is to ensure that oil is delivered to the camshaft at the correct time and impacts the opening and closing of intake and exhaust valves. Variable valve technology adjusts the time of the opening and closing of these valves relative to the camshaft position to deliver maximum power when it is needed. A faulty OCV may cause inefficient power delivery to the driveshaft and limit the acceleration of your car.
In most situations, the Engine Control Module monitors this condition and illuminates the check engine light on the dash and records the appropriate trouble codes to be reviewed by the service repairman.
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F.A.Q About Oil Control Valve
If your vehicle is generating any of the above symptoms, have the engine checked by a licensed mechanic. If the engine light has been turned on, they can review the error codes and take the appropriate action. Many readers have the following frequently asked questions:
Can you drive with a bad oil control valve?
In most situations, you can drive your vehicle. However, it will not perform at the engine’s normal performance level. Acceleration and fuel economy will decrease, and your engine may run with a rough idle. Also, there is a higher risk of damaging the variable valve system due to a lack of lubrication and cooling. The costs for repair can be substantial compared to replacing the oil control valve. Vehicle owners should have the oil control valve replaced immediately and the engine oil flushed and changed.
Is my oil control valve stuck?
Engine sludge can cause lots of problems such as low oil pressure, impeding the oil flow, and including causing your oil control valve to stick. It is incredible how many people fail to check the oil level in the engine regularly or even have the engine oil changed. The sludge can prevent oil from entering and causing the OCV to stick, causing reduced engine performance under heavy loads, acceleration situations, and even running roughly while idling. Usually, the check engine light is also on, and verification of the error codes will indicate malfunction of the oil control valve.
How much does it cost to replace an oil control valve?
The cost to replace the oil control valve will vary a great deal depending on the make and model of the vehicle. The cost of parts to replace the oil control valve can vary from $200 to $400, with the cost of labor varying from $100 to $200. Note that these figures do not include taxes and other fees associated with your state. Car dealers tend to charge more for both parts and labor, while small repair shops have lower overheads and can undercut the national brands. The repair is relatively straight forward: disconnect the battery; remove the old OCV, install the new OCV, and reconnect the battery.
Last On Oil Control Valves
A malfunctioning oil control valve OCV may affect the engine’s performance and cause your vehicle to idle roughly, accelerate poorly, and use more fuel than normal. The check engine light is usually illuminated, and error codes indicate that the OCV is malfunctioning. Vehicles should not be driven with a bad OCV to avoid causing further damage to the internal components of the engine.
In most cases, failure to complete routine oil changes leaves oil sludge inside the engine, which can cause the oil control valve to stick or fail to operate. Costs to replace the oil control valve vary by make and model of vehicle, from $200 to $400. An oil control valve change would comes after the owner starts noticing a decline in fuel economy, or the check engine light comes on.