When somebody mentions the words
engine gasket, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the cylinder head gasket. But there are actually several types of gaskets used in the engine, and each one is just as essential as the head gasket in ensuring the engine works as it should. And just like the head gasket, the other engine gaskets are designed to be durable and last as long as the engine itself. However, durable is not the same as invulnerable; engine gaskets can be compromised by overheating, an improperly installed engine component, and other factors.
Once any of the gaskets in your engine breaks, they must be replaced immediately to prevent overheating and further damage to your engine. Here are some tips on finding replacement engine gaskets for your car:
Composite vs. silicone?
Engine gaskets sold in the market today are made up of either of the following: composite materials or silicone:
- Composite gaskets: These gaskets are a combination of cork, rubber, paper, and felt and are designed and cut to match the specific dimensions of the engine component they're meant to seal. Because of this, composite gaskets are known for their effective sealing properties. However, these gaskets must be used in tandem with gasket sealant or adhesive in order to seal properly.
- Silicone gaskets: Unlike composite gaskets that come pre-cut, silicone gaskets are made from a blended silicone compound that is applied directly onto the mating engine components. Silicone is much more resistant to acids, solvents, oils, water, and other chemicals and is non-toxic. However, because they are still uncured when applied silicone gaskets must be allowed to cure for at least an hour.
Is it the right fit?
If you opted for a pre-cut composite gasket, make sure that the gasket fits the engine component perfectly. An ill-fitting gasket will not guarantee a perfect seal and will only do more harm than good for your engine. So before you buy a gasket, make sure that it matches the specifications of your car engine.