With all the moving parts and flowing fluids inside your car, it's no wonder why there are leaks or seepage under its hood. In order to protect all the other parts of your engine, as well as to decrease fluid wastage, gaskets are there to help. One of these gaskets is the valve cover gasket, which is found between the engine cylinder head and the valve cover. With the different kinds of valve cover gaskets available, which one is best for your car? To help you choose the right valve cover gasket, here's an overview of the different materials used for gaskets:
Silicon rubber valve cover gasket
Silicon rubber gaskets are the most common type of valve cover gaskets on cars today. If your car has been originally fitted with this type of gasket, it's best to stick to the same material once it needs replacing. Valve cover gaskets that are made of silicon are generally reusable and easier to fit. Although the material tends to shrink with age, it's highly durable and less prone to breakage. Silicon rubber gaskets are also perfect for many classic cars. It is easy to remove and replace for adjustment, which allows it to fit most outdated valve covers.
Cork valve cover gaskets
If you're looking for a valve cover gasket with a stronger seal, one that is made of cork would be your best bet. Unlike other materials that merely stop the oil from leaking out, this kind of material can soak up most of it. However, you have to be very careful when handling cork-type valve cover gaskets. They can easily disintegrate when retightening the bolts and if the job is not handled with care it may mean re-doing the installation. Another disadvantage of using cork valve cover gaskets is that they can be difficult to reuse once they are removed. They can dry out and crack out.
Other types of valve cover gasket
Aside from the two major types of valve cover gasket, there are also gaskets made from other materials. One of these materials is laminated cork. Laminated cork is a reinforced version of the cork-type gasket. It makes use of a metal gasket with cork on both sides, which offers a far stronger and more durable gasket. On the other hand, a revamped silicone gasket is also offered in the form of a rubber-coated fiber valve cover gasket. The addition of fiber to the rubber gasket enables it to absorb oil, just like the cork-type gasket, but with the flexibility of silicon rubber. Lastly, the most modern type is the composite gasket. Out of all the types of valve cover gaskets (based on material used), composite gaskets are probably the most durable. They also have the best resistance to heat, which makes them the most expensive as well.