Types of Gaskets in a Car You’ll Find

Gaskets are made of different materials to meet the conditions of where they’re installed. They must be able to handle the temperature, fluid, and other requirements to stay intact. Watch the video below or read on to learn about the different types of gaskets in your car and where you might find them.

Video: Different Types of Gaskets Reviewed

7 Different Types of Gaskets You’ll Find in a Car

1A Auto mechanic reviewing the different kinds of gaskets you can find in a car

Paper Gaskets

Paper gasket

Some parts like the water pump, oil pan, and the IAC valve on the throttle body can use paper gaskets. They’re not meant to be used with RTV. RTV stands for “room temperature vulcanizing.” It will destroy the paper gasket, expand the rubber, and will soften over time.

Paper and Metal

Paper and metal gasket

Paper and metal gaskets can be found on parts like the EGR valve. Since it needs to withstand the heat of the exhaust, the gasket has to be made of material where it can be flexible enough to endure the different hot and cool temperatures. A paper valve on a part like this will fail.

Rubber Seals

Rubber seal

Some parts like the thermostat have rubber seals. This is so if coolant touches it, it doesn’t expand, flex, and leak. The valve cover gasket is also made of rubber and it’s built to handle the oil base.

Flat Metal

Flat metal gasket

Some parts like the exhaust have a flat metal gasket. In this example, it has a solid ring with dots compressed into it. This is to disperse the heat in the gasket. It is not a solid gasket due to its position on the exhaust pipe.

Wound Metal with Carbon Coating

Wound metal gasket with carbon coating

Wound metal gaskets with carbon-coating are useful for cone-shaped exhaust pipes. It has a metal ring in the center and folded carbon paper with a metallic feel.  

Solid Metal

Metal gasket - one of the different types of gaskets you can find in a car, truck, or SUV

Solid metal gaskets are usually on the straight manifold. These don’t go bad and can be reused. If the exhaust pipe does not have pitted or cracked metal, you can clean it with a solvent or light sand and scuffing with a paper sander. As long as it fits, use the factory gasket if it’s still in good condition.

Rubber Gasket

Rubber gasket, which is one type of gaskets you can find in a car

You’ll find rubber gaskets like O-rings on sensors or the valve cover. You can clean and reinstall rubber gaskets. If they’re not contaminated they won’t expand and will still seal. You can clean these simply with a rag and no solvents.

Top 3 RTVs

3 recommended RTVs

Temperature 65 to 650 Fahrenheit

This RTV is useful for parts on the exhaust that see a really high temperature.

Temperature 350 to 400 Fahrenheit

This RTV is flexible for uneven surfaces like the engine block.

Temperature 65 to 500 Fahrenheit

This RTV is oil resistant and an option for parts like oil pans and timing chain covers.

Pro Tips for Adding RTV

Don’t Apply Too Much Compound or RTV

Add only a little compound and don’t over-compensate and add too much RTV. You might think adding more RTV will create a stronger seal, but it will actually make a mess. For example, after installing an oil pan, if too much RTV is dripping from the outside, it’s also dripping on the inside.

Apply a Consistent Bead and Follow the Directions

Place a nice bead around the rim, follow the directions on the bottle, place the part into place, and torque it to specification.

Fix different types of gaskets in a car yourself with quality auto parts and tips at 1aauto.com

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Find out how to fix specific models with step-by-step instructions in our how-to videos. Our expert mechanics can help you install and diagnose parts yourself.

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Types of Gaskets in a Car - Different Types of Gaskets Reviewed - 1A Auto
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Types of Gaskets in a Car - Different Types of Gaskets Reviewed - 1A Auto
There are many different types of gaskets in a car that you can find as an owner. Find out the many gasket types you might find on different parts in your car with these expert tips in this article and video
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