If you’ve looked under the hood of a newer model car, you’ve probably been shocked at the number of components that make up the systems which keep your vehicle running. Engine gaskets are some of those small but essential parts. In fact, your engine wouldn’t run very long without them.
Cylinder head gaskets
Often known simply as the head gasket, the cylinder head gasket prevents combustion gases from getting into the coolant system. Older vehicles would experience a blown head gasket, which ruins the engine in many cases. Today’s gaskets are made of metal and they rarely blow out, but they can start leaking.
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.
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 a silicone to hold up to high temperatures. It keeps the oil from moving past the crankshaft while it spins.
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. It’s important to have a mechanic inspect the gaskets in the engine to know when they need replaced.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as What Is the Purpose of Engine Gaskets? and was authored by Joyce Morse.