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Car and Truck Gaskets

Gaskets are among the most vital parts in a car or truck motor. They form the seal between engine components that keeps fluids, fuel, and air where it needs to be. By performing proper gasket maintenance and replacement work, you will be able to protect your investment and keep your vehicle running smoothly for many miles.

How do gaskets work?

Their basic function is to form a mechanical seal between two or more surfaces. Since they are more flexible than the materials they fit in between, they perform these vital functions:

  • Prevent fluids, like oil and coolant, from leaking
  • Maintain air pressure
  • Reduce grinding and friction between surfaces
What kind of gaskets are in a car or truck?

There are seven main types of these items that each perform a specialized function. Knowing these types will help you choose the right part for the job. The seven types are:

  • Valve covers: These form a seal to prevent leaks between moving engine parts.
  • Fuel pump: This prevents fuel from leaking between the tank and engine.
  • Oil pan: This seals oil inside of the engine and oil pan.
  • Head gasket: This keeps coolant from mixing with fuel and seals the cylinder heads on the engine.
  • Crankcase: This is fitted between the engine and the crankcase to prevent leaks.
  • Crankshaft: This prevents leaks between the crankshaft and engine.
  • Distributor: This provides a seal between the distributor and engine.
What is a gasket made of?

To improve functionality, they are made out of different materials depending on what they are meant to do in an engine. Generally speaking, it's important that the gasket provides a bit of give or cushion. The materials that these parts are made out of are:

  • Rubber
  • Nitrile rubber
  • Silicone
  • Cork
  • Graphite
  • Fiberglass
  • Neoprene
How long do gaskets usually last?

Depending on their application, gaskets can last anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 miles. Head gaskets are now designed to last around 200,000 miles. However, if you find an oil leak, it's likely that one of your gaskets has failed and needs to be replaced. This can happen for any number of reasons before the 20,000-mile mark.

Why should you replace your car's gaskets?

Gaskets can wear out over time like any part of your engine. However, gaskets can fail prior to their expected lifespan for a number of reasons. Causes may include:

  • Persistent overheating
  • Extreme cold or temperature fluctuations
  • Loose fastening
  • Corrosion