Gaskets are an unsung but vitally necessary automotive part. What are they and what do they do? We asked our MINI of Portland service techs to give us and you an quick rundown.

Automotive Gaskets 101

Gaskets are a type of seal, and the two words often appear interchangeably. Automotive gaskets serve as a flat seal that fills a gap between two components. The seal stops leakage. Gasket design results in structure that withstands low and high compressive loads over long periods. Gaskets conform to a range of shapes, specs and modifications. The most common are:

  • Spiral wound
  • Double jacketed
  • Sheet
  • Solid material

They may consist of:

  • Elastometric material (steel, elastometric beads)
  • Composite
  • Copper
  • Multi-layer steel

Types of Gaskets and Seals

Types of gaskets and seals on the market number in the dozens. A few of the most commonly used include:

  • Camshaft seals
  • Wheel bearing seals
  • Oil seals
  • Water pump seals
  • Transaxle seals
  • Differential seals
  • Cooling system gasket
  • Engine seals
  • Fuel supply gasket
  • Transmission seals

As vehicle manufacture evolves certain types of gaskets and gasket materials get phased out. Composite gaskets were very popular in the 1980s, but are very rare today.



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