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A Shelby Mustang Windsor V8 engine with "Cobra Powered by Ford" labeled rocker (valve) cover (lower left)

Rocker covers, in relation to the internal combustion engine, are covers that are bolted on over rocker arms on top of the cylinder head. They are called valve covers in the United States and Canada.[1] and some times rocker boxes in the UK.

In early engines, these covers did not exist. As the rocker arms are critical to having the intake and exhaust valves operate, it was necessary to keep them constantly oiled. With these early engines, the rocker arms would have to be frequently oiled as the oil was constantly being thrown off or contaminated with dirt from the outside environment. The rocker cover was invented to keep the oil in and the dirt out. This part is now found on virtually every existing internal combustion engine today.

The cover can either be a light pressed steel 'tin' similar to a roasting or baking tray or cast alloy (as shown above), as often used on 'sports car engines. The alloy design often incorporates 'cooling fins' and the manufactures or customisers name. They also often incorporate the oil filler tube and cap.

Rocker cover gasket

A gasket (rocker cover gasket, or valve cover gasket in the US and Canada) helps seal the joint between the rocker cover and the rest of the engine. Failure of this gasket can cause oil to leak from the engine.

See also


  1. Bickford, John H. (1998). Gaskets and Gasketed Joints. CRC Press. ISBN 0824798775. 

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