A little background first. I noticed a small amount of yellow stuff in my oil filler cap last night. Knowing this is a sign of a blown head gasket I was getting ready to cry, but I did some research and found this site that states it could also be sludge buildup or condensation from short trips. This question and this question both back up the condensation explanation. And I do drive only about a mile and a half to work each day, and it is cooling down, so that is what I am assuming it is.
But, I want to be sure and the site I linked above mentions checking to make sure there isn't any sludge buildup by saying:
Next, shine a flashlight into the valve cover and examine the condition of the valve springs and rocker arms. If they appear clean, you do not have a sludge problem.
I'd like to do this, but I can't see how I can simply shine a light in there and look, does he mean take the valve covers off? That would be a lot of work just to take a quick look.
So my question: Am I missing something? Is there a way to look without taking the valve covers off? Or would I indeed have to remove them to look? If so is there another way to check for sludge buildup?
Follow up question: Should I not be worried about sludge buildup considering my short trips in now cold weather?
Vehicle is a 2001 Dodge Dakota 4.7L if that matters.