What Is the Purpose of Engine Gaskets?

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It is estimated that more than 250 individual components make up the typical combustion engine used in today's cars, trucks, and SUVs. But did you know that one of the most important components are the gaskets that are installed in-between two other parts? Although they are small in size and not particularly complex, they are vital to engine function.

There are several different gaskets that are used in various parts of the engine. Some gaskets are inside the motor, while others connect the engine to supporting components like the intake manifold, exhaust manifold, and water pumps. Their primary job is to keep debris from entering the engine, maintain a consistent internal pressure, and keep oil and other fluids inside the engine. Here are a the most important gaskets on your engine and why they are critical in keeping it running.

Cylinder Head Gaskets

Often known simply as the head gasket, the cylinder head gasket prevents combustion gases from getting into the coolant system. They are made typically of copper and are placed between the [cylinder head](https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/how-to-clean-cylinder-heads-by-spencer-clayton] and the engine block. The thickness of the head gasket can impact the compression ratio inside the combustion chamber. On older vehicles, head gaskets had a ‘shelf life’ and would wear out, especially closer to the edges of the combustion chamber due to high heat. This would reduce the pressure inside the combustion chamber and lead to potential engine failure.

Although today’s head gaskets are much better in design, one problem they still have is being damaged during overheating situations. When a head gasket fails, coolant will seep into the combustion chamber and mix with engine oil. This can cause significant engine damage and require complete engine rebuild or replacement.

Intake and Exhaust Manifold Gaskets

The intake manifold gasket regulates the temperature inside the chamber and prevents air from escaping during combustion. This ensures the fuel mixture has the right amount of oxygen for the engine to perform efficiently. The exhaust manifold is similar, but is installed in between the cylinder head and the exhaust manifold. When these gaskets fail, they can create compression issues, and reduce engine efficiency. Typically these gaskets do not fail when a vehicle is properly maintained with routine maintenance.

Main Bearing Gaskets

The main bearing gasket is designed to keep the oil in the oil pan while the crankshaft is moving. It is set right off the last main bearing and is located on the rear of the engine. The gasket or seal is generally made of rubber or silicone to hold up to high temperatures. It keeps the oil from moving past the crankshaft while it spins. The main bearing seal will fail with excessive oil pressure, excessive heat, or the collection of engine sludge which is caused by not changing engine oil and filter as recommended.

Camshaft Gaskets

The camshaft also requires a gasket to prevent oil from leaking out. Also referred to as a cam seal, the round rubber gasket does double duty. It not only prevents oil from seeping out, but it keeps dust and dirt from getting into the engine and causing damage.

A faulty gasket can cause major damage over time if not replaced. Although a professional mobile mechanic can replace some external gaskets, internal engine gaskets should be replaced by a dedicated engine shop. It’s important to have a mechanic inspect the gaskets in the engine to know when they need replaced.


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Arturo

25 years of experience
42 reviews
Arturo
25 years of experience
Volkswagen Tiguan - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - La Jolla, California
Arturo was efficient and extremely professional. I'll refer him to friends and family and call him for any issues related to my car. I am very happy with the service!
Kia Forte - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - San Diego, California
ARTURO is great! very professional , fast, replaced my front brake pads and oil an filter change. everything now works and works well. Brakes have much improved stopping power and engine is smooth and quiet.Arturo is also kind and thoughtful. "Your mechanic" is very fortunate to have Arturo Lopez represent your company. I enthusiastically recommend him and "Your mechanic> as a fine operation Best regards to the Team Peter Marto

Travis

11 years of experience
312 reviews
Travis
11 years of experience
Ford Explorer Sport Trac - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Travis is great! This is the second time he has come and serviced our truck. I recommend Travis for any service ned you may have!
Subaru Forester - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Rosemount, Minnesota
Thank you Travis for your fast, easy, honest work on my vehicle today!! The first thing you did upon arrival to my home was find me a discount coupon for $50 off my service estimate. You did only what needed to be done in record time. You not only saved me lots of money, but did things in a profession manner. I've been looking for an honest auto mechanic for my whole life and would love for you to be it!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! You're the best!!!

Scott

32 years of experience
346 reviews
Scott
32 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Denver, Colorado
Arrived on time and worked quickly. Gave me detailed information on his completed work and the details of my car. Answered all of my questions thoroughly.
Lexus IS250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Denver, Colorado
Always on time, speedy, professional, and pleasant to interact with. The work is always consistent and we'll done. I can't reccomend Scott highly enough!

Nicholas

9 years of experience
251 reviews
Nicholas
9 years of experience
Lexus GX470 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Clayton, North Carolina
Nicholas texted me 30 minutes prior to arrival. Showed up on time as scheduled. He confirmed the work that I requested be performed. He completed the work, performed the road tested, and delivered my keys along with recommendations of other work that might be in my best interest. Was very pleasant, professional, and cleaned up after he was done. I was so impressed with the service he performed and the speed at which the services were completed. I have already scheduled a future service with Nicholas and will schedule any and all future repairs with him if he is available.

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