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Are Seals and Gaskets Covered in an Extended Warranty?

BY: Alex Perrone
A set of rubber sealing gaskets

Vehicle maintenance is an expansive and complex topic that most drivers dread. However, not addressing maintenance tasks on your used vehicle can lead to components going unnoticed over time until they start causing trouble.

It’s at this point where it truly becomes a headache because of the time and money that repairing these components can take. Even the most attentive drivers, though, only focus on the larger parts under the hood and ignore the smaller components, which allow those larger ones to function.

Seals and gaskets are two parts that fall into this category. They work quietly behind the scenes to keep your vehicle running smoothly. Yet, when it comes to warranty coverage, many drivers are uncertain about whether small parts such as these are covered by their warranty plans.

In this guide, we’ll explore the significance of seals and gaskets, their role in your vehicle’s health, and the relevance of extended warranties in covering these parts.

What Are Seals and Gaskets?

While few people are aware of what seals and gaskets are under the hood, they are the unsung heroes of automotive engineering. These parts serve as crucial barriers that prevent fluid leaks and maintain compression within your vehicle’s engine and mechanical system. Seals and gaskets can come in many different forms, with each form being tailored to specific applications under the hood.

As an example, head gaskets seal the combustion chamber within your engine, whereas oil seals help prevent oil from seeping out of the tank. Valve cover gaskets, on the other hand, maintain pressure within your vehicle’s hydraulic system. Without seals and gaskets, the integrity of critical systems within your vehicle would be heavily compromised. This can lead to potential damage and extremely costly repairs, given that most mechanics need to strip down the parts under the hood to actually get to these small parts.

The Importance of Seals and Gaskets

As alluded to above, seals and gaskets both play a pivotal role in ensuring the overall health and performance of your vehicle. By preventing fluids from leaking and maintaining proper compression, they help to contribute to the smooth operation of essential systems. Without functioning seals or gaskets, your vehicle can experience a slew of issues including, but not limited to:

  • Overheating within the engine leads to breakdowns
  • Reduce performance from inadequate efficiency of systems
  • General increased wear and tear on the engine components
  • A sudden loss of necessary fluids such as coolant, oil, and more
  • Contamination of essential vehicle systems leads to the degradation of other parts under the hood

All of the above issues are just scratching the surface of the importance of seals and gaskets, which is why learning the most common issues seen with seals and gaskets matters.

Common Issues with Seals and Gaskets

Despite their critical importance, seals and gaskets are not immune to wear and tear overtime just as with any other part. Various factors can contribute to this deterioration, such as age, extreme temperatures in either direction, poor maintenance practices, and more. Regardless of the cause of degradation for your seals and gaskets, learning to spot the signs that it’s time to replace them is of paramount importance.

The most common sign that there may be an issue with seals or gaskets under your hood is consistent and steady leaking. The fluid that is leaking can vary, but it will usually be the same fluid over time. Whether it’s oil, coolant, or any other type of fluid, keep an eye out under your used car whenever you drive off.

Additionally, unusual noises coming from the engine coupling with a decrease in overall performance are other key signs that something could be amiss. It’s worth noting that the above common signs of issues with seals and gaskets are early-stage signs. This means it’s important to take your vehicle in right when these signs are noticed so that the issues do not devolve into more serious problems down the line.

What Does it Cost to Replace Seals and Gaskets?

While the fact that each seal and gasket is designed slightly differently to serve a different purpose benefits your vehicle, it doesn’t benefit your wallet. The cost to replace seals and gaskets under your hood will vary dramatically depending on which needs replacing. For example, a head gasket can often cost somewhere between $1,000-$3,000 to replace, given the complexity of the work.

On the other hand, the oil pan gasket often tops out at $1,000 for replacement, with the low end being around $800. Clearly, there’s no hard and fast rule for how expensive a seal or gasket repair job will be, but it is clear that it will not be cheap. This is why you should take your vehicle in the moment you notice something is amiss. The costs mentioned above are only to repair or replace the seals and gaskets; they are not inclusive of other repairs stemming from the original issue. This is also why drivers should make a concerted effort to find an extended warranty, more accurately called a vehicle service contract, that covers the cost of replacing defective seals or gaskets.

The Value of Extended Warranty Coverage for Seals and Gaskets

Extended warranties and vehicle service contracts offer an additional layer of protection against unexpected repair costs beyond what a manufacturer’s warranty offers, including those related to seals and gaskets in some cases. The coverage provided will vary depending on the specific terms and conditions of your warranty plan, meaning some extended warranties explicitly include coverage for seals and gaskets, whereas others don’t. Those plans, however, will often stipulate any exclusions that may exist given the variety of seals and gaskets that there can be, so be sure to check the fine print.

With that said, having an extended warranty contract, in general, can be extremely beneficial for you and your vehicle. Extended warranties work by covering some or all of the cost of repairs related to manufacturer-caused defects under the hood. If you’re in a car accident, an extended warranty cannot help to cover the damages, but if you are simply driving down the road and something breaks on your vehicle, it’s very possible that your extended auto warranty will kick in if it’s a covered repair or related to covered parts.

As always, read the terms and conditions of any extended warranty contract you are considering to see which items are included in the scope of coverage and which are not. This can help you to fill in the gaps that exist from a factory warranty.

Seal and Gasket FAQs

Given the fact that seals and gaskets aren’t as well known as other parts under the hood of a car, there are many frequently asked questions that come up related to them that a dealership may not answer for you when you purchase your new car. Below are some of the most commonly seen:

What is the difference between seals and gaskets?

Seals and gaskets both serve the purpose of preventing fluid leaks and maintaining compression in mechanical systems, but they differ in their design and application. Seals are typically used in dynamic applications where parts move relative to each other, such as with the pistons in an engine. Gaskets, on the other hand, are static seals used to create a barrier between two stationary surfaces, such as an engine block and cylinder head.

What are the signs that seals and gaskets need to be replaced?

Some common signs that seals and gaskets may need replacement at the repair shop include visible leaks of oil, coolant, or other fluids. Additionally, signs may include low fluid levels, unusual noises seemingly coming from the engine, and a general decrease in the overall performance or efficiency of your vehicle. It’s always best to address these issues as soon as possible to prevent further damage from occurring.

Are seals and gaskets important on cars?

Yes, both seals and gaskets are crucial components in ensuring the proper functioning and longevity of a vehicle. They play a vital role in preventing fluid leaks, maintaining compression, and even sealing critical systems such as the engine, transmission, and cooling systems.

Does an extended warranty cover seals?

Extended car warranty coverage for seals can vary depending on the specific terms and conditions of the warranty plan. Given the smaller size of the component, the type of extended warranty plan most likely to cover seals is a comprehensive contract that mirrors bumper-to-bumper warranty packages. It’s essential to review the warranty contract carefully to understand what is and isn’t covered on your vehicle.

Are gaskets covered under an extended warranty?

Similar to seals, the coverage for gaskets under an extended warranty contract can be included in some plans but not in others. Vehicle owners must consult with their warranty provider or read through their contract to determine whether gaskets are covered and under what circumstances, if any.

Are oil leaks covered by extended warranties?

Whether or not oil leaks are covered by an extended warranty will depend entirely upon the terms of the warranty plan and the cause of the oil leak. For example, if you’re in a car accident and your vehicle starts leaking oil after the fact, that isn’t caused by a manufacturer defect, and as such, it wouldn’t be covered. However, if oil starts leaking randomly and it’s due to faulty seals or gaskets, it would be covered by your warranty, assuming your plan accounts for those parts.

Protect the Integrity of Your Vehicle

Seals and gaskets may be two small components of your vehicle, but it’s surely clear now that their significance to your vehicle’s overall health cannot be overstated. By understanding their importance, recognizing common issues they can have, and investing in preventative maintenance, you can help ensure the longevity and reliability of your vehicle. Beyond this, consider exploring auto protection plans from Endurance Warranty, which help safeguard against unexpected repair costs and maintain your peace of mind on the road.

The Supreme plan offered by Endurance, in particular, covers both seals and gaskets along with the vast majority of parts under the hood, rivaling even some bumper-to-bumper warranty contracts. In addition to this, all Endurance contracts come with standard perks like 24/7 roadside assistance, rental car coverage, and trip interruption reimbursement. For a small initial fee, new customers can also activate Elite Benefits, which offers bonus perks such as up to $1,000 in total loss protection, reimbursements for up to four tires per year due to road hazards, and more.

To learn more about how Endurance can protect your entire vehicle, give our award-winning customer service team a call at (800) 253-8203 to request a FREE quote or shop online to see your price today.

Explore more extensive Q&As on auto parts, including air conditioning, radiators, water pumps, hoses, transfer cases, drive axles, and beyond, on the Endurance blog.

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