Along with the cylinder head bolts, the cylinder head gasket functions to provide a secure seal between the cylinder head and the cylinder block. The cylinder head gasket will replace an original old head gasket and is specifically designed for the make and model of your vehicle.
The cylinder head, usually cast out of iron or aluminium, is fixed on top of the cylinder block, forming the top of the combustion chamber. Sandwiched between the cylinder head and cylinder block, acting as a sealant, is the cylinder head gasket. The cylinder head bolts function to keep the head gasket firmly sealed and need to be able to withstand the huge pressure exerted on them from the process of combustion in order to achieve this.
The cylinder head is comprised of a series of passages that carry the air and fuel combination needed for combustion to the cylinders; the liquid coolant needed to keep the engine cool; and harmful fumes (produced by the engine in the process of combustion) from the exhaust valves to the exhaust manifold and away from the vehicle. In an air-cooled engine, the cylinder head and cylinder block have fins on the outside that allows cool air, generated by a fan which is powered by the engine, to flow through the engine and keep it cool. It is imperative that the cylinder head is securely sealed to the cylinder block. The cylinder head gasket has a vital role to play in keeping the cylinder head in the right position, firmly secured and perfectly aligned. The cylinder head gasket is manufactured to be vehicle specific, intended to replace the original head gasket with the exact specifications for the engine configurations of your car.
If the car engine is overheating, this is often an initial indication that the engine is losing coolant and the head gasket has malfunctioned, and it is likely to have a leak. General wear and tear on this part can stop it from sealing the cylinder head properly to the cylinder block which results in coolant leaking into the cylinder, which will eventually cause the engine to overheat. Antifreeze, contained in the coolant, can also damage the pistons and rings because it can wash the oil away which usually protects these parts against wear. A leaky head gasket can lead to antifreeze leaking into the crankcase too, which not only dilutes the oil but also contaminates it which can corrode the bearings and cause them to fail. Misfiring cylinders, white smoke from the exhaust, a sweet smell in the exhaust fumes and a low coolant level in the radiator or reservoir can all be signs of a malfunctioning cylinder head gasket. When replacing this vital part, fitting the cylinder head gasket will guarantee complete compatibility with the make and model of your vehicle.