Typically, modern automotive engine designs include separate cylinder heads and cylinder blocks with a multilayer steel head gasket to seal the resulting joint. Cylinder head bolts are typically used to hold the joint together and non-linear properties of head gasket provide sealing capabilities of this joint, which is essential for engine durability and performance. There are three major failure modes for head gasket joint: fluid leakage due to low sealing pressure, bead cracking due to high gap alternation and scrubbing/fretting due to pressure and temperature fluctuations causing lateral movement in the joint. During engine operation, head gasket design should be robust enough to prevent all three failure modes. Analysis methods to address two failure modes (fluid leakage and bead cracking) are common within the industry. This paper will be focused on gasket scrubbing/fretting failure mode. First gasket scrubbing and fretting mechanisms are investigated. Based on an understanding of the fundamental mechanisms, an analysis procedure is developed and critical design parameters for scrubbing and fretting are defined. The developed method is employed for cylinder head gasket joint design to prevent scrubbing and fretting, and the critical design parameters are discussed.