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Overly expensive gaskets?

I recently purchased a throttle body gasket for my Corolla from my local retail auto parts store. $9. Seems a little high for a small-ish uncomplicated gasket doesn’t it?

I was thinking car manufacturer’s ought to make pdf downloads available with the patterns for all the gaskets, and then the DIY’er (or even a shop) could just buy blank sheets of gasket material, download and print out the pattern, and cut the needed gasket to size with an exacto knife.

How do others here deal with this overly-expensive gasket problem?

Non-Big Three branded cars seem to run higher than average on parts pricing and not just gaskets.
One can walk into an AutoZone or O’Reillys and buy a Fel-Pro throttle body gasket for a Ford for 1.50 + tax.

Car manufacturers will never provide a gasket template as that would upset the profit apple cart. AutoZone sells that gasket I mentioned for 1.50 and it has a profit margin built in.
A car maker will contract through the same gasket manufacturer, have the gasket wrapped up in their packaging, and sell it for way more than 1.50 across their parts counter.

A DIYer can buy sheets of gasket material and make their own. However, it’s time consuming and a shop/mechanic would be losing money hand over fist if they resorted to home grown gasket making.

Well? Most manufacturer’s are moving away from cut gaskets and instead are using this.

A gasket is a gasket. You can make it from a cut material or put on the proper sealant that serves the same purpose.

As long as it makes a seal and dosen’t leak, it’s a gasket.


I am too old, we used to cut up cereal boxes to make gaskets

I might hammer out another thermostat gasket in my lifetime but $9 for a throttle gasket is cheap compared to the time involved making one and the grief of replacing it when it fails.

If you know you need one order it from Rockauto, looks like about half the price.

I’ve made gaskets in some have-to situations (mostly old motorcycles) and it’s not a ton of fun even omitting the time factor.


Manufacturers have been moving away from those “paper” gaskets, near as I can tell

FWIW . . . I’ve used my gasket punch set and the boxes that the parts came in to make plenty of gaskets over the years

I’ve only done this when the gasket wasn’t included in the box, was wrong, damaged, etc, or when the vehicle absolutely had to get finished immediately

I must say, though, that the labor involved was sometimes worth more than a gasket would have cost if purchased at the local parts store

What’s expensive? $9 for something you need and the car won’t run right without it? It’s $9.
Pack of cigarettes.
Six-pack of beer.
Lunch from Burger King or the local taco truck.
Two loads of laundry at the local Laundromat.

Most auto parts suppliers will sell you a sheet of gasket paper to use to manufacture your own gaskets. But for $9 I’d think it would be better to buy an exact fit gasket.

BTW, not sure about your year and model, but I just looked up a Fel-Pro brand throttle body gasket for a 92 Corolla from my local parts supplier. My cost $1.99 with a list of $5.73.

There are some gaskets that should not be homemade due to thickness specs. That might include engine oil pump gaskets, certain transmission gaskets, etc.

“There are some gaskets that should not be homemade due to thickness specs. That might include engine oil pump gaskets, certain transmission gaskets, etc.”

Oh, for those things just grab a tube of blue silicone. (grin)

Unfortunately for some, I’ve seen that a few times… :slight_smile:
My only regret over the years is not keeping a camera in the toolbox to record a lot of that stuff for grins later on.

You would have loved to have seen the near new Subaru with only 4k miles on it that some rental outfit decided needed an engine overhaul. This thing was towed in (250 miles from Arkansas) and I kid you not; they must have used a dozen tubes of RTV. Clear, not blue though…
My first thought on the “Repair to Start” complaint after raising the hood was, WITH…

That goop was sticking out in finger-sized globs from the head gaskets, engine block, oil pump, throttle body, and there was even a glob of RTV about half the size of my fist holding a broken A/C compressor high pressure line together which had been wrapped with electrical tape first.

We never did get the full story about the engine or why no demand for warranty but it was determined with about 99% certainty the “bad engine” was actually running poorly because of a faulty TPS switch.
The car was towed off and word was it was scrapped.

I found the throttle body gasket for my '92 celica, 4A-FE engine for $5.65 a couple of years at NAPA. If you think the price is too high, check around. I generally compare price at store and online to make a better decision. I’ll be more inclined to buy a pre-cut gasket than try to cut one myself if a pre-cut is readily available. Just don’t have the patience anymore.

Good comments all around, thanks. I may have paid too much, didn’t shop around. I haven’t used it yet, may take it back if I find one cheaper. I’m working to solve a high idle problem that is worsening week by week, but I’m working around that by just turning down the idle adjustment screw once in a while. I can do that another week if I have to. There is a NAPA nearby, I’ll check there for their price. The guys there at NAPA are more knowledgeable and helpful than the big box store I go to actually. Just the big box store is closer. I used to have a NAPA discount card when I lived in Colorado, could get a fairly substantial discount from list with that card. I think I lost the card though. I’ll ask the local NAPA if they’ll give me a new one, couldn’t hurt to ask.

Does anyone else think retail big box auto parts stores prices have gone up significantly? These parts stores seem to be bent on profits and nothing else now-a-days. The big box parts store I go to, up until a couple years ago they had a separate parts counter at the back of the store in a quiet location, with their best experts to help. Now to buy any part at this store you stand in line with the folks who are buying car freshener, at the front of the store. The staff is in a mad rush and it is so noisy it is hard to hear what they are saying, and they can’t hear what I am saying. I have to repeat myself any time I give the car make/year/engine code/etc, as they don’t hear me correctly the first time usually.

Back to the gasket … hmmmm … if nothing less expensive found, I guess I still have the option of buying a sheet of gasket material and making a copy from the one I purchased, then take the purchased one back for a $9 refund. Is this ethical? I wonder … hmmm … that auto parts retailer, though more and more expensive, has always treated me ok so probably won’t do that. But if I find another gasket for 50% less, I’ll take it back. I think it is ethical to insist my vendors’ prices be competitive.

As with dB4690 above, I’ve made may own gaskets before from sheet gasket material, just b/c I didn’t want to wait 2 days a special order to arrive. I did this for the carb gasket on my truck 3 or 4 years ago, works fine. (I’ve done this using old inner tubes too for lawnmower gaskets … lol … that worked ok too.) I understand a pro mechanic wouldn’t be able to cost-justify it time-wise. But I’m not billing myself $100/hour, so if it takes 30 minutes to exacto-knife out a gasket, I can do it in the evening and watch tv while doing it, and it is sort of a relaxing task, arts-and-crafty, a sort of return to kindergarten … lol … so no worries.

About the comments above, using sealant … the shop manual for the car specifically says to not use sealant for the throttle body gasket, not even a dab of sealant to hold the gasket on while you tighten the bolts down. It goes out of its way to make a point that the mechanic should simply hold and align the gasket on while positioning the TB to the mating surface on the intake manifold. I’m not sure why, but there is a reference elsewhere in the shop manual that RTV fumes will contaminate the O2 sensor and ruin it. I’m presuming that is the reason the shop manual says not to use sealant for the throttle body gasket.

All modern engine sealants are sensor safe.


I’ve even made gaskets using only a small ballpeen hammer and the “gasket paper” . . . aka any old discarded paper box

No knife
No bench
No gasket punch set


I used to work for an auto parts store many years ago, the company was sold to a competitor a year or so after I left. Gasket prices have been a mystery for awhile now but Chevy V8 parts have a bigger supply than most parts for the average Toyota.

We had a separate parts counter in the back, usually where you would find the manager and a few of our resident gearheads. The chain parts stores seem have to gone with the counter at the front and sometimes a separate register.

I’ve also tapped out gaskets with a ball peen and pasteboard but only when backed into a corner with no way out.

Tapping out silver rings from old half or silver dollars is not as aggravating as tapping out gaskets by hand. At least with a ring, one is left with a tangible result at the end. :slight_smile:

When I was a kid we made all our own gaskets with rudimentary tools to boot. Punch? No such luck. Knife and scissors. They were crude but effective.

Like anything in life you learn a lot by doing things yourself. More than just making a fiber paper cutout; What works and more importantly, what doesn’t. Also honing skills that come in handy in life.

As I got older but still frugal to a fault, I would still make ones that were not readily available or “too expensive”. The latter reason diminished with age and tolerance level.

Gas is expensive and so is my time. Now, I usually cringe but pay the man…

If a parts store had a door charge or a minimum sale requirement the price of insignificant parts might be more in line with their cost to manufacture them. At 20c per minute per employee, considering the time spent stocking, counting, looking up the part number and finally ringing up the sale the store has several dollars in labor invested in handling a part that might have cost less than $1.

Many years ago the cost in time (mostly wasted waiting) resulting from acquiring a bolt or nut to replace one broken in the process of repairing a car led me to spend more than $1,000 for a cabinet stocked with every common and some not too common SAE and metric fastener. If a bolt broke or even looked rusty or rounded I insisted that they be replaced at no added charge on the invoice. The time saved from chasing down replacement bolts and wire brushing bolts more than paid for the cost of the inventory and it was not worthwhile in my reckoning to itemize such an insignificant item. But, if someone wanted to buy a replacement bolt I usually lied and told them I didn’t have the size they needed because even if I charged them $1 each for the bolts they needed the transaction would take me away from whatever profitable work I was doing for a considerable length of time. And on that subject I will add that the McParts stores would do well to price lug nuts and lug studs at $10 for the first + list price for each additional with no returns allowed.