Summary. Stephens Gaskets, experts in exhaust washers, clarify the distinction between precision exhaust washers and gaskets in the automotive sector. While washers distribute load and prevent unnecessary movement, gaskets seal spaces between components, preventing leaks in vehicle engines.


Both precision exhaust gaskets and washers have transformed the automotive industry over recent years. However, both components often get mistaken for one another, especially when not knowing their purpose. Do they work together? Or do they work alone? As specialist exhaust washers suppliers, we can offer you our expertise and guidance, no matter your needs.

For over 50 years, we have developed our business so that we can adhere to even the most complex needs of our customers. Our bespoke solutions enable us to produce washers and gaskets to even the most intricate dimensions for optimum performance. But the question is, do you need a washer or a gasket?

The Basics: What are they?

What are washers?

A primary function of a washer is to evenly distribute the load of a threaded fastener. For example, a furniture piece is held together by bolts or nuts. However, they’re also used for spacing, springs, locking devices and to reduce vibrations.

What are precision exhaust washers?

When it comes to vehicle engines, precision exhaust washers can eliminate unnecessary movement between parts.

What are gaskets?

On the other hand, gaskets are mechanical seals that fill the space between two components or surfaces. Most commonly, this is to prevent leakages, especially within engines. They join two metal surfaces together, preventing liquid or gas from escaping or entering the joint within the pipe.

What are exhaust gaskets?

In fact, a gasket plays a vital role in any exhaust’s functioning. As it is made up of numerous sections, they ensure that fumes can’t escape into areas they shouldn’t such as the environment or throughout the interior of a car.

What is the difference between washers and gaskets?

Due to washers being used for load distribution, they do not share the same effectiveness for preventing leaks. Most washers won’t prevent fluids or gases from seeping through, no matter their material. For sealing purposes within an exhaust, you’d require a gasket.

Shape & Size

The size and shape also differ for both. Washers are usually of a uniform circular shape so that they meticulously fit into bolts. This means that they’re often small in size. However, as gaskets are much more versatile, they can be manufactured in a wider range of shapes and sizes.

Related: Exhaust Gaskets by Size | Choosing the perfect gasket with Stephens Gaskets


They are both available in an array of materials, including steel and rubber. Although, washers are most often made of metal, especially aluminium, stainless steel and copper. As a leading exhaust gasket and washers supplier, we are experts in their immaculate proficiency.

Related: Why Choose A Copper Exhaust Gasket?

What is best for your needs?

If you’re still unsure as to which component is suitable for your needs, we can help. Whether you need precision exhaust washers or gaskets, we can provide you with custom-designed and made metal parts to suit your exact requirements. As a renowned exhaust washer manufacturer in the West Midlands, we have built our company on the notion of providing an excellent product and service.

Get in Touch for a Bespoke Service

From start to finish, we put tremendous accuracy and attention to detail into every project we are met with. Get in touch with a UK shim washer supplier that you can trust via phone at 0121 796 3146 or email at

Furthermore, if you found this blog useful, check out a previous one: Exhaust Gasket Material UK | Trusted UK Suppliers for 70 Years and Counting

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