How to Choose an Automotive Caulk

by J.D. Richards

Caulk is a material that builders and mechanics use to create an airtight and watertight seal. It protects an area from moisture damage and, with regard to air flow, can increase energy efficiency. An effective caulk sticks well to the surface to which you apply it, and it is flexible enough to expand and contract in response to temperature changes without compromising its adhesion. The caulk you should use for your automobile depends on the surface of the vehicle you are planning to caulk.

Determine the surface of your vehicle that you wish to caulk. Glass, metal, plastic and rubber surfaces all have different caulking needs.

Use a silicone or siliconized acrylic caulk, one labeled for adhesion to glass, if you are caulking windows, a windshield or another glass surface. Brands of silicone caulk include GE Silicone and McKanica Silicone Caulk Remover Gel.

Use a butyl rubber caulk when sealing an unpainted metal surface. This is a good option for surfaces under the hood of your car. Brands include Dap Butyl-Flex Gutter and Flashing Caulk and Red Devil Butyl Rubber Sealant.

Use a siliconized acrylic-latex to seal gaps between plastic surfaces. Herchem Plumber's Caulk is an option for this purpose.

Use a silicone sealant for rubber surfaces, as well. Rubber surfaces in your vehicle can include hoses, weather stripping and other trim. An applicable brand is Work Zone 100 percent Silicone Sealant.

Tip

  • check Be sure to check the disclaimer and instructions on the caulk receptacle you purchase. Generally, you should apply caulk in dry weather and in temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. After the caulk begins to dry, mold it into a concave shape using tools.

Warning

  • close Caulk loses efficacy when used between perpendicular surfaces.

Items you will need

About the Author

J.D. Richards has worked as a writer and journalist since 2005. He has written for various publications, including the alt-weekly "Creative Loafing" in Florida as well as Manhattan's "New York Press" and "Blackbook Magazine." He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in journalism.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera glazier image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com