How to Paint Valve Covers: A Comprehensive Guide

Painting valve covers is a great way to add some personality and style to your engine bay. It’s a simple project that can be done at home with the right tools and materials. Before you begin, make sure to choose a high-quality engine enamel that can withstand high temperatures and harsh chemicals.

It’s also important to properly clean and prepare the surface of the valve covers before painting. With the right technique, you can achieve a professional-looking finish that will make your engine stand out from the crowd.

Painting Valve Covers: A Comprehensive Guide


How to Paint Valve Covers Properly

Painting valve covers is a common and relatively simple way to add a custom or decorative touch to your engine bay. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to paint valve cover

Materials and Tools:

  1. Valve covers
  2. Paint stripper (if old paint needs to be removed)
  3. Sandpaper (various grits, 120-400)
  4. Primer suitable for high-temperature applications
  5. High-temperature engine enamel paint
  6. Paintbrushes or spray paint equipment
  7. Masking tape and newspaper or plastic sheeting
  8. Safety goggles, gloves, and a respirator (for paint stripping and spraying)

Steps to Paint Valve Covers


  • Ensure the engine is cool to the touch before working on it. If the engine has been running, let it cool down completely.
  • Remove the valve covers from the engine. This may require removing other components, such as hoses, cables, or brackets, that obstruct access to the valve covers.
  • If your valve covers already have old paint or a finish, you can remove it by using paint stripper.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific product you are using. Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area, and wear safety gear.

Cleaning and Sanding:

  • a. After paint removal (if applicable), clean the valve covers thoroughly to remove any residue. Use a degreaser and scrub with a brush if necessary.
  • b. Sand the valve covers to create a smooth, rough surface for the primer and paint to adhere to. Start with a coarser grit (around 120) to remove imperfections and old paint, and then move to a finer grit (around 400) for a smoother finish. Wipe the valve covers clean after sanding.


  • a. Apply a high-temperature engine primer to the valve covers. The primer enhances paint adhesion and durability. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the drying time between coats and the number of coats needed.
  • b. Allow the primer to dry completely. This may take a few hours or longer, depending on the product.


  • a. Once the primer is dry, apply the high-temperature engine enamel paint. You can use a brush or spray paint, depending on your preference and equipment.

Follow the paint manufacturer’s guidelines for the number of coats and drying times. It’s essential to use high-temperature paint to withstand the heat generated by the engine.

  • b. Apply multiple thin coats of paint rather than one thick coat for a smoother and more even finish. Allow each coat to dry before applying the next.


  • a. After applying the final coat of paint, let the valve covers dry completely according to the paint manufacturer’s instructions. This usually takes several hours or more.
  • b. Reinstall the valve covers on the engine, making sure to use proper gaskets and torque specifications.


  • a. Once the paint is dry, it may take some time for it to fully cure and harden. It’s recommended to let the engine run for a short period to help the paint cure, but do not rev the engine or subject it to excessive heat immediately.

By following these steps and taking your time to do the job correctly, you can paint your valve covers to achieve the desired custom look while ensuring they can withstand the high-temperature environment of the engine bay.

How to PROPERLY Spray Paint (Valve Covers and Engine Parts)

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Paint Valve Covers

What Type Of Paint Should I Use To Paint Valve Covers?

To paint valve covers, use high-heat paints specifically designed for engine components.

Can I Paint Valve Covers Without Removing Them?

Yes, it is possible to paint valve covers without removing them. However, it may be more difficult to achieve a smooth finish and you may need to tape off surrounding areas.

Should I Prime The Valve Covers Before Painting?

Yes, it is recommended to prime the valve covers to ensure proper adhesion and a smoother finish.


As you can see, painting your valve covers is a simple and cost-effective way to give your engine bay a customized look. It’s a fun and enjoyable task that just requires some patience, the right tools, and the right techniques.

Taking the time to properly prep, prime, and paint your valve covers will ensure a long-lasting finish that looks great. Remember to choose the right type of paint for your application and to follow all safety guidelines when working with chemicals.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be on your way to having a beautiful looking engine bay in no time. Don’t be afraid to get creative and add your own personal touch to your valve covers. Happy painting!