A nonlinear, three-dimensional finite element analysis of the cylinder head gasket joint has been developed to allow accurate prediction of global and local joint behavior during engine operation. Nonlinear material properties and load cases that simulate full cycle engine operation are the analysis foundation. The three-dimensional, nonlinear, full-cycle simulation accurately predicts cylinder head gasket joint response to assembly, thermal, and cylinder pressure loading. Predictions correlate well with measured engine test data. Analysis results include local pressure distribution and global load splits. Insight into joint loading and an improved understanding of overall joint behavior provide the basis for informed design and development decisions.