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What is a cylinder head?
Release date:2019.05.21

The cylinder head is usually located at the top of the engine block. It is used as an enclosure for inlet and exhaust valves, springs and lifts, and combustion Chambers. This page describes the main functions and various designs of cylinder heads, as well as their causes and symptoms of failure.

The passage in the cylinder cover allows air and fuel to flow through the cylinder while allowing exhaust gas to flow out of it. These passages are called harbors or swaths. The cylinder head also cools the engine parts by introducing coolant into the engine block. The cylinder head USES gaskets to help prevent water or oil from leaking into the combustion chamber.

Most OEM cylinder heads are made of cast iron. Cylinder heads made of cast iron are more durable and less expensive. However, cast iron is heavy and dissipates heat inefficiently. For this reason, some manufacturers prefer to use cylinder heads made of aluminum. These cylinder heads are much lighter than cast iron ones. Aluminum cylinder caps are commonly used in high-performance cars and racing cars.


A car with a inline engine has one cylinder head, and a car with a v-engine has two cylinder heads, one for each cylinder block. In some vehicles, the cylinder block is very close to a v-type engine and requires only one cylinder. Large industrial vehicles may have one head per cylinder. This makes replacing the cylinder head more affordable.

Type of cylinder head

Flat head cylinder head: this is the first type of cylinder head. The flat head head only protects the cylinder block and has no moving parts. These cylinder heads do not allow effective air flow and thus provide poor engine performance.

Overhead cylinder heads: these are superior to flat head heads. Overhead valve has a camshaft over the cylinder head. These head putts are attached to the valve to provide a smooth flow of air.

Overhead camshaft cylinder heads: these are the most advanced designs for cylinder heads. The overhead camshaft cylinder head has a camshaft inside the cylinder head without a push rod. This provides better airflow and, in turn, increases the efficiency of the engine.

Cylinder head problems and their symptoms

The most common problem with cylinder heads is frequent cracking due to engine overheating. A cracked cylinder head can leak coolant, preventing the engine from cooling effectively. This causes the engine to overheat further. When the cylinder head breaks, it can also cause oil to leak into the combustion chamber. This can be detrimental to the engine and can lead to expensive engine repairs. In many cases, the entire engine will have to be replaced. Other signs of a bad head include poor engine performance and engine fires.

When cars overheat, many people inject water into their radiators without trying to narrow the problem. This can also cause the cylinder head to crack, because when water is added, it causes a rapid change in temperature.