PTFE in Motorsports

PTFE and its many applications

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) has an interesting history and has been used in a number of ways over the years. There is, of course, the best-known PTFE brand Teflon® – the miracle cookware coating. But PTFE is also used in aerospace and computer wiring, and it’s even coated the fiberglass dome of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis. But the Metrodome isn’t the only sports-related application for PTFE. Because it’s so slippery and resistant to extreme temperature changes and chemical reactions, PTFE is an excellent component for many parts such as: bearings, gears, and of course, seals – like those used in so many motorsport vehicles. So, what role does PTFE play in the exciting world of motorsports?

PTFE in racing cars and trucks

TRITEC Seal’s PTFE rotary lip seals can be found in the race cars of nearly every NASCAR team, ensuring reliability for the chassis, drive train, and accessory drive systems. In addition to these high pressure seals, PTFE is now part of fuel hoses of many high performance vehicles. Relatively recent changes in fuel additives have shortened the life span of rubber fuel hoses, and PTFE, with its extreme temperature durability and chemical inertness, has been an ideal addition to fuel hoses.

picture of motorcycle ptfePTFE in motorcycles

Because of its ability to withstand high vibrations and temperature extremes, PTFE is an important component of a motorcycle’s piston seals. It can also be found in chain lubricant and some motorcycle oil.

PTFE in boats

High performance boats such as MasterCraft use PTFE seals to improve the output of their inboard shaft drive systems. PWC’s such as SeaDoo’s also take advantage of engineered sealing solutions by using PTFE rotary lip seals as well as wear sleeves in all of their PWC models. PTFE is often part of boat wax because of its ability to repel dirt and stains, and offer a high-sheen finish.

PTFE in riding mowers

Believe it or not, PTFE can even be found in the specialized sport of lawnmower racing. It is sometimes a part of the lubricant for belt pulleys. And PTFE rotary oil seals are used extensively in John Deere riding lawn motors to seal the crankshaft.

PTFE in go-karts

Go-kart racers may use a lubricant that includes PTFE, or it may also be part of the seal on a kart’s ceramic bearings, although there are a number of healthy debates about whether ceramic bearings make any significant difference in performance over standard bearings. (But that’s another story!).


For more information about PTFE and to see if it’s the right application for you, contact the Gallagher Fluid Seals engineering department.

This original article was originally featured on Tritec Performance Solution’s website.