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
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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
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
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.
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