Car Maintenance

Car Maintenance: Importance of the Drain Seal

The failure of a drain gasket or its absence can have serious consequences and even require the replacement of the engine deteriorated by an operation without oil. Explanations on this small part with a crucial role for your engine.

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Drain gasket: what does it do?

It is a seal associated with a drain plug. This plug, screwed on the lowest part of the crankcase, allows the evacuation of used oil from the engine or gearbox.

When reassembling, it must always be fitted with a new seal. Failure to observe this rule may have serious consequences:

The elasticity coefficient of the new gasket allows for a good seal, unlike a gasket that is already crushed.

Replacing a used gasket requires a higher torque, which can lead to the deterioration of the cap and housing threads.

For the same reason, too much effort when loosening the seal will damage the plug cavity, preventing removal. This worn gasket can be crimped onto the plug (each time it is tightened, the inside diameter of the gasket decreases), resulting in a loss of time to remove it.

What are the different types of drain seals?

Car Maintenance

 Your mechanic will use the correct seals for the original model. 

There are many different types of gaskets:

The flat copper gasket. This is a plumbing-type gasket that is thin and crush resistant. It is not the most common type of gasket used in automobiles.

The round copper gasket. This annealed type gasket (it has a high crushing coefficient) is one of the most common gaskets used by all brands.

The composite gasket. It is composed of a copper envelope with a plastic or fibre core. Its advantage is the combination of the crushing of the metal with the sealing produced by fibre or plastic. It is also found in all brands.

The fibre seal. It is the type of seal used in plumbing faucets. It is very little used in automobiles because of its low resistance.

The nylon gasket. It is a wide, flat plastic gasket. It must be tightened to the correct torque to prevent it from bursting. It has been used on Ford models since the 1980s.

The self-centring gasket. This is a metal seal with a lip made of steel or aluminium. It incorporates a lip seal in its inner diameter, offering two advantages: centring of the seal and perfect sealing. It is very efficient and used by many manufacturers. It is one of the only gaskets that can be used to replace other types of gaskets.

The O-ring. It is adapted to specific stoppers, is made of round rubber, and fits into a cavity in the stopper. It has very good sealing capabilities that allow it to be used with aluminium housings.

Recommendations for using the drain gasket

As you have understood, this harmless element is a technical part that requires the respect of some rules of assembly that a qualified mechanic for servicing your vehicle will know. For example:

  • Always use a new gasket.

  • It must be adapted to the cap and crankcase and as close as possible to the original configuration (if in doubt, get it from the manufacturer’s network).

  • The tightening torque must be respected.

  • Checking the tightness after the vehicle reaches average operating temperatures is recommended.

Good to know: 90% of the different types of gaskets are available from all retailers (internet, workshops, auto parts suppliers, etc.).

Hope this post has provided you with the information you were looking for. Remember to jot down a few words in the comments section below.

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