Everything you need to know about maintaining your car: seals

It is essential to regularly check the condition of your car to limit wear and the risk of breakdowns and accidents. This keeps it in good working order for as long as possible and makes it easier to drive. In addition, a well-maintained car reduces fuel consumption, which can save you up to 25%. This maintenance consists of checking the condition of the main parts and their tightness, which are essential for the proper functioning of your car. Indeed, it is the seals that ensure a good seal of your systems, they are found in many places in a vehicle: air intake system, cooling system, engine lubrication system, exhaust system, transmission, etc. For each mechanical component, there are different types of seals, each requiring special attention. Find out everything you need to know about their maintenance.

What are the different types of vehicle seals and what is their function?

For each car, it is important to use the appropriate seals corresponding to the original model. There are a wide variety of them, some of which are listed below.

Oil seals or lip seals

These are the seals used on motor vehicles to prevent fluids such as oil, water and fuel from leaking through drive shafts and axles. You can find these oil seals in several places on a car:

  • Crankshaft: seal located at the front of the engine and sealing between the crankshaft and the front of the engine block.
  • Transmission: seal located at the rear of the gearbox and sealing the output shaft of the gearbox.
  • Wheels: seal located inside the wheel hubs and preventing grease and/or oil leaks.
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hydraulic seals

They are used on motor vehicle hydraulic systems to prevent hydraulic fluid leaks. Here are the main places where hydraulic seals are found on a car:

  • The hydraulic cylinder: these seals are located in the hydraulic cylinders. They prevent hydraulic fluid from leaking through the cylinder rods.

Wiper seals

These are seals used to prevent contaminants such as dust, debris, and water from entering and damaging components. Here is where wiper seals are located on a car:

  • Hydraulic cylinder: these seals are used to block the intrusion of external pollution.


They are seals commonly used in automotive systems to prevent leakage of fluids such as oil, water, and fuel. Here is where you can find O-rings on a car:

  • oil filter
  • carburettor
  • gas pump
  • pipe fittings
  • cylinder head

These types of seals vary depending on the vehicle and the part to be sealed. They are generally used for stationary parts. On the other hand, only lip seals are used to seal moving parts. Regardless of the type of seal, it is important to regularly check their condition and replace them if they show signs of wear, in order to prevent fluid leaks and maintain the proper functioning of the system. 123ROULEMENT is the French leader in the online sale of bearings from major brands. On this site, you will find all varieties of seals and sealing accessories. Quality brands to extend the life of your bearings.

Why is it necessary to change your seals?

Sealing is essential to guarantee the proper functioning of the component. A leak can quickly lead to damage. For example, a leaking drain plug gasket causes a slow oil leak which, over time, can damage internal engine components. A leak caused by a poorly sealed thermostat gasket will cause the engine to overheat, resulting in major damage.

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When should you change your seals and how often?

There are a number of situations in which you may need to change the seals on your vehicle. In general, a seal must be replaced as soon as it has been disassembled, as soon as it shows signs of wear, or during a diagnosis or maintenance. Indeed, with each assembly, the seal adapts to a shape which will not be the same the next time, and it cannot readapt to a new position. If reused, the result would be a poor seal. In addition, any seal is inevitably damaged during disassembly.

During revisions, traces of liquid can be seen around the seal. This is proof of poor sealing, so the gasket will have to be replaced.

During an important operation allowing access to other parts of the engine, it may be wise to take the opportunity to change the corresponding seals. For example, when changing a timing belt, the crankshaft and camshaft seals are often changed.

How do you change your gaskets?

First, you'll highlight the old gasket. Then, once it is accessible, you remove it. Then, the surfaces must be cleaned to make them impeccably smooth. To do this, start with a cutter blade and finish with an abrasive belt if necessary. Remove any remaining grease with a degreaser, usually brake cleaner. Then put the new seal in place. Flat gaskets usually have a hard time staying in place. To remedy this, it is possible, with a little skill, to hold the seal in place using the fixing screws when reassembling the part.

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Furthermore, when installing a cylinder head gasket, it is very important to follow the correct method and the correct tightening torque when reassembling the part in order to avoid damaging it. It is strongly recommended to refer to the technical journal for this information.

The use of sealant is sometimes mandatory, especially when replacing the engine oil pan gasket. Some manufacturers do not manufacture standard joint models, so it is essential to use joint compound. After cleaning the surfaces, simply apply a bead of sealant, then reassemble the housing. By tightening the screws, the paste is crushed and creates a sealing film between the two parts. Finally, just clean the excess paste that has overflowed.

For any mechanical breakdown, visit the forum breakdown and troubleshooting

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