To reuse or not to reuse gasket material…that is the question. Depending on who you ask, you will almost always get differing answers and advice. Those people that are cost conscious will almost always recommend to reuse every gasket you can. (“There’s still more life in it!”) Those that are strictly focused on performance will always tell you to never reuse a gasket. (“Once you break the seal, you will never achieve the same level of performance!”)
As a trusted gasket material supplier, our recommendation is that you never reuse a gasket. (Ok, ok, we know you are probably thinking “of course they would say that…they just want to sell more material” – but hang with us on this one.) As an expert resource that knows gasket material inside and out, we’re going to break down some of the arguments for and against reusing, and what you need to consider when making that decision for your application. And maybe…there is a time or two that it really might be ok to reuse one.
Reusing a Gasket
If you’ve never been told, you’ve likely always wondered if that gasket could be reused. “It still looks ok, I wasn’t having any problems with it…I wonder if I could throw it back on there??” Here are some of the common arguments for reusing a gasket, and some situations where it might work to reuse.
- If the gasket hasn’t seen heat exposure yet of an operating unit, it might be ok to reuse.
- If the gasket hasn’t seen fluid exposure and swelling of an operating unit, it might be ok to reuse.
- “It looks ok” is more of a subjective approach, but might indicate that the gasket is still ok to use as long as the initial thickness is still correct and it has sufficient compressibility left in it to achieve a seal.
Replacing a Gasket
There are many people out there that would never replace a gasket. How does one really know if it is going to work the same way twice? Here are some of the common arguments for never reusing a gasket.
Exposure to elevated temperatures causes materials to deteriorate. Sometimes this means: dry out, stiffen up, saturate, get brittle, take a set, etc. Once this seal has “seated” in the application, it should not be disturbed. A new gasket is required to go through the initial seating phase and achieve a proper seal.
Exposure to fluids sometimes causes materials to swell, impregnate, or saturate. In a seal situation, this often helps to create the seal. Reusing a gasket is not advised as the saturation and absorbancy condition can vary. A gasket should be assembled, then exposed to heat and fluid. A used gasket already having swelling due to the fluids should not be reused.
The third reason not to reuse a gasket is related to the first two. Once a gasket has taken a set (due to temperature and fluids), it should not be disturbed or reused. It would not have the same properties available to go through the initial compression provided by the joint and achieve the initial seal.
Like we’ve mentioned, our official position is to never reuse a gasket. As a gasket material manufacturer, we run our tests and certify our products when our material is at 100%. We know for a fact that our material can handle the conditions it is specified for IF the gasket (and joint) is designed properly, and installed correctly. What we don’t know is how our material will work after the seal has been disturbed or disassembled. It may work just fine, it may have been damaged in the process – we don’t know, and it would be impossible to test in enough conditions to enable us to come to a strong conclusion that we would have any confidence in.
We take pride in the quality and the performance of our material (as do many others), and we don’t believe the risk of damage to your application is worth the reward of saving a few dollars from reusing a gasket.
Replace to be safe! If you are interested in subscribing to Sealed-In’s blog posts, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are You Looking for Cheap Gasket Material? Be Careful What You Wish For.
We’re all guilty of it. Who among us hasn’t been known to Google “cheap (fill in the blank)” when we are trying to make a purchase? Sometimes you come away with the steal of the century, and other times, well, you bought what you paid for.
Uneven Temperature Exposure – Is There A Solution?
First of all, it is important to understand why you are seeing uneven temperature exposure. Unfortunately, this happens most of the time during testing (or even field use) as opposed to the design phase. Due to this, you need to sometimes design a material after the fact.
Is There A Fluid Leak In Your Joint? Here’s What You Need To Know.
If you work with applications that require a gasket, four words you never want to hear are: “We’ve got a leak”. (We know there are others, but we’ll just focus on gaskets since that’s what we can help with.) Here are a few reasons why your joint may be leaking fluid, and what you can do about it.
Gasket Materials for Extreme Heat
This customer has been using HT 400 successfully for years in exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) gaskets. They had a new application, and they tried the HT 400 because it has always worked for them, but they started experiencing heat related issues...
4 Questions to Ask When You Need to Seal Fluids
Whether you are new to the fluid sealing market or you’ve been immersed in it for years, there are some considerations that must be made when you need to seal fluids. We thought we’d lay out the important questions that need to be asked (and why) when you are faced with a joint that requires fluid to be sealed.
How Do I Know How Much Gasket Compression is Too Much?
If you’ve never given much thought to gasket compression (gasket what?), you likely have the mindset of “clamp ‘er in there the best you can”. While this mantra may work for you in certain scenarios, it is definitely not ideal. Achieving the proper gasket compression via the torque placed on the bolts is actually a well-engineered, tested and verified process done with a specific type of gasket material.
3 Reasons You Know That it is Time to Replace Your Head Gasket
Sometimes bad things can happen to good engines. This can be the case with a head gasket failure. Depending on the design requirements and the suitability of your gasket material for the application, the useful service life will vary. However, any application that is in use long enough may require a replacement of the head gasket...