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WATCH: The Evolution of Gaskets in Modern Vehicles

Gasket technology has evolved to help vehicles run cleaner and more efficiently.

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Gaskets have been used on vehicles since the days of Henry Ford. You can find hundreds of them on any car, truck or SUV. But you might be surprised by how gasket technology has evolved to help vehicles run cleaner and more efficiently.

Engines are getting smaller, vehicles are getting lighter and more cars are featuring direct-injection and hybrid technology. At the same time, we’re seeing thinner, less rigid parts that are exposed to higher temperatures and combustion pressures. While this helps automakers improve fuel economy and reduce emissions, it also places additional demands on gaskets and other sealing products.

To meet the demands of today’s engines, cylinder-head gaskets have evolved from a flat, pressed design to a flexible design that allows the gasket to follow the movement of the engine parts. Leading gasket manufacturers have developed cylinder-head gaskets made of beaded, elastomer-coated spring steel layers. These gaskets form very fine sealing lines along the beads, reducing contact pressure with the surfaces. These gaskets are designed to provide a reliable seal for fuel, coolant and engine oil, and they offer the high thermal stability needed for today’s engines.

As automakers use more plastic components to produce lighter vehicles, leading gasket manufacturers have developed elastomer sealing systems that can be used on just about any sealing joint found in a modern engine. And as we see more and more vehicles with smaller-displacement, turbocharged engines, gasket makers are using mica, graphite and other metal combinations to produce flat gaskets and sealing rings that can handle the extreme conditions in those engines.

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Clearly, these aren’t your grandfather’s gaskets.

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