How to Install an Oil Seal

Oil seals come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are often referred to as gaskets, o-rings, packing, or swivel seals and can be made of such things as rubber, cork, composites, and even leather.

Nonetheless, they are all made to do one thing, to ensure that the oil used by a machine has been sealed inside to keep it from leaking out, which could otherwise cause mechanical failure. Commercialized types of oil seals need to be pressed on using hydraulics or specialized tools, but common do-it-yourself o-rings and gaskets can be installed using the same basic techniques.

  1. Remove the original oil seal. An o-ring can be pried out with the edge of a flat-bladed screwdriver, and a gasket can be scraped off with a drywall knife.

  2. Wipe any dirt, debris, and/or leftover oil from the area with your dry rag. If any sticking particles remain, scrap them off with your screwdriver or drywall knife.

  3. Brush on some pipe dope to the area, which the new seal will cover.

  4. Place the seal over the pipe dope and press gently over the top to purge any air gaps between the pipe dope and the seal.

  5. Brush on some pipe dope over the top of the seal. Make sure there is a solid and continuous application of pipe dope over the entire face of the seal.

  6. Attach the part over the oil seal, lining up any screw or bolt holes, and tighten it up as per the manufacturer's directions.