The PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) system is vital to the function of a Mini Cooper. Having it replaced as needed will prevent further damage to your vehicle. You need to know what it is, warning signs of a failing PCV system, how to prevent it from happening in the future, and where to get it replaced in the meantime. We’ll answer all of your questions.
What is a PCV System?
As was mentioned before, PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation. It is a system that protects the crankcase from getting gunked up with the air and gas mixture that escapes from the combustion engine while driving. The PCV valve recycles the mixture when the car is operating at low speeds or idling to give the combustion engine another round without putting too much air back into it. When your car speeds up, this process stops.
Warning Signs of a Malfunctioning/Failing PCV
When your PCV valve or system begins to have issues or ultimately fail, you should get your Mini Cooper taken to an auto shop right away. If you notice any of these warning signs, do not put off repairs.
● Engine pressure increases significantly
● Oil seals and gaskets begin to fail
● Gunk builds up in your engine
● Black smoke comes out of the engine
● Engine oil begins to leak from the car
● Engine misfires
● “Lean” mixture of air and fuel
● Oil consumption increases and efficiency decreases
● Engine oil found in the PCV valve
All of these symptoms are signs of a deeper problem. What causes these things to happen? Let’s talk about that.
Causes of a Malfunctioning/Failing PCV
Every action that happens in life has a cause and effect, and car problems are no exception to this rule. A few different things can start to break down your PCV system.
● The PCV valve may be stuck closed or be clogged with various gunk like engine oil. If this happens, your system becomes nonfunctional. This is what causes the first five symptoms and is what you should check for first.
● On the other hand, the PCV valve could become stuck in the open position. This is what causes the last four symptoms to occur.
● A disconnected system hose or a rupture in the hose could also be responsible for the last four, so you have to check a few things out before you can get to the root of the problem.
Diagnosing the Problem
There are ways to check and see for yourself whether the PCV system or valve is broken or malfunctioning. This way, you can be almost entirely sure that it is, in fact, the problem before you take your Mini Cooper to a mechanic.
● Check the PCV system’s various parts. Hoses can break or leak due to running your vehicle at high temperatures. Anything rubber can split as well for the same reason.
● Take your PCV system apart and look at all of the hoses and valves to check for oil buildup. If you do find debris in any of these parts, carefully clean them.
● Mesh filters underneath the system could also be full of junk, and it needs to be replaced.
PCV Replacement Times Recommended
Certain parts of your PCV system have milestones in which you should consider replacing them. For the mesh filter, mechanics usually recommend changing it every 30,000 miles you drive. If your PCV valve is spring-loaded, getting no noise when you rattle it means it needs to be replaced. Even if it does, weigh that with all of the things happening to your car and get it checked out just in case.
Where to Get the PCV System/Valve Replaced
Now you have done everything you can. If the PCV system or valve still is not working, it is best to bring your vehicle in for repairs. Since you have a European car, though, where should you go? Not every mechanic is equipped to deal with delicate, imported cars like a Mini Cooper.
If you live near the Ann Arbor, MI area, you don’t even have to worry about where to bring your vehicle. Orion Automotive Services is qualified to deal with anything you need. We have trained and certified technicians that specialize in handling European vehicles. Get someone who can get the job done right the first time.
* Blue Mini Cooper Car image credit goes to: bruev.