How Does a Gasket Work In My Car?

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As a car owner, you’ve probably heard of the word gasket, but you may still be unfamiliar with how it works. A gasket guarantees the tightness of an engine and prevents spillage of fluids from the engine.

Moreover, gaskets keep debris from entering the engine. And maintain a constant internal pressure.

But, there are different types of gaskets in your car engine, and each works differently.

Cylinder Head Gasket

The cylinder head is found between the engine and the cylinder block. It connects the cylinder head and the cylinder block. It is made up of copper.

As the oil and the coolant travel from the engine block to the cylinder head, the head gasket prevents them from mixing.

Also, it prevents combustion gases from entering the coolant system.

Intake Manifold Gasket

The intake manifold gasket cushions the intake manifold against the cylinder heads. It acts as a seal for the engine vacuum and the engine coolant. Other than that, the intake manifold gasket regulates the temperature inside the chamber.

During combustion, the intake manifold gasket prevents air from escaping. Besides, it ensures that the oil mixture has the right amount of oxygen.

Exhaust Gaskets

There are two types of exhaust gaskets; the exhaust flange gasket and the exhaust manifold gasket. Each works differently and is found in different parts of your car.

The exhaust manifold is mainly cast iron or stainless steel and is positioned between the engine block and exhaust pipe. It acts as a seal between these two parts, preventing leakage and ensuring the flow of exhaust fumes through the catalytic chamber.

On the other hand, the exhaust flange is found between the catalytic chamber and the header pipe. This gasket, which is used to prevent exhaust leaks, is designed with the right angle and surface. Besides, it improves the flow of the gas through the exhaust system.

Main Bearing Gasket

The main bearing gasket is located on the rear of the engine. It is made of rubber or silicone, which makes it withstand high temperatures. The main bearing gasket keeps oil in the oil pan while the crankshaft is moving. And, as the crankshaft revolves, oil does not pass past this point.

Camshaft Gasket

A camshaft gasket is found between the camshaft pulley and cylinder head. It is responsible for sealing the end of the engine’s camshaft, between the top of the cylinder head and the valve cover gasket.

Camshaft seals are usually made of durable rubber materials that allow them to serve for a long time.

Camshaft gaskets prevent oil from seeping out through the camshaft pulley and cylinder head joint. On top of avoiding oil seepage, it prevents dust and dirt from entering the engine, which can cause great damage when allowed in.

Oil Pan Gasket

At the bottom section of the block, there’s the oil pan. The oil pan is storage for motor oil that flows through the engine to grease and cool movable parts. The oil pan gasket seals the oil pan to the bottom of the engine block. As oil moves from the pan to the engine and back, the oil pan gasket prevents any oil leakages.

The oil pan is usually made of rubber that is adaptive to high temperatures.

Valve Cover Gasket

Also known as the rocker cover gasket, the valve cover gasket is found between the rocker cover and the rest of the engine. It is made of either rubber or cork.

The valve cover gasket acts as a seal between the rocker cover and the rest of the engine. This seal provides a cushion between the valve train components from the rest of the engine.

Other than that, the valve cover gasket provides a seal to the spark plug tubes. This seal prevents contamination of the spark plugs from oil.

How To Know If Your Gasket is Not Working Properly

Various factors determine how well a gasket works. Here are some indicators that your gasket isn’t working correctly.

Radiator sound – in a car with faulty gaskets, the radiator may produce a bubbling sound as it heats up the coolant. This eventually leads to overheating of the engine compartment.

Colored smoke – usually, when your car is in perfect condition, the smoke coming out of the exhaust is hard to notice. Though when your gaskets are faulty, you get either white or black smoke. Black smoke is due to oil leakages which mix with exhaust fumes. White smoke may be a sign that your engine is consuming the coolant.

Coolant retention – your car uses up the coolant after a certain period. With a faulty gasket, the process is faster than normal.

Color of oil- when you check your oil and see any residue, there might be a leakage caused by a defective gasket.

Leakages – when you notice any external leakages either underneath your car or the tailpipe, your gaskets may be damaged.

Misfires- misfires are caused when leakages flow down to the spark plugs and cause the engine to work ineffectively.

How To Get Your Gasket To Work Perfectly

  • Bolt enough; when bolting your gasket, don’t make them too tight or loose. Make sure the gasket is compressed enough to prevent damage to the gasket or leaks.
  • Use low material factor gaskets
  • Lay the gasket close as possible to the inside of the bolts.
  • Fill scratches with a highly compressible material.
  • Make flanges as stiff as possible.
  • Use the gasket with a low modulus of elasticity.
  • When using a fibrous gasket, use a wide one
  • Make sure flanges are clean – the dirt on the flanges is made up of leachable solids and oxides. Make sure the flanges are free of any dirt.
  • Use gaskets that fit perfectly; this is to avoid any leakages or spillages. The way to get this kind of gasket is by going to a gasket manufacturer such as


From the description above, you’ve seen how different gaskets work in your car. Also, you saw some tips on how to ensure your gasket is working correctly. Another tip, service your car regularly. Ensure your engine is checked thoroughly before leaving the service station.

The post How Does a Gasket Work In My Car? appeared first on The Mechanic Doctor.

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