What is a Cylinder Head? - Midwest Aftermarket

Do you know what is a cylinder head in your vehicle? It is a key component in the complex world of automotive engineering. It directs the engine's combustion symphony. It is located on top of the engine block and is in charge of storing crucial parts necessary for the engine to operate.

With Midwest Aftermarket, you can take a closer look at what is a cylinder head and learn about its parts. You can also study how it works inside your car.

What Does a Cylinder Head Do?

A cylinder head is the protector of the engine block. It encompasses:

  • Combustion chamber
  • Lifters
  • Springs
  • Intake and exhaust valves
  • Other vital parts

This fundamental structure effectively directs exhaust gases out of the cylinder and helps fuel and air enter it. These passageways, sometimes known as ports or tracts, are essential to engine operation.

What are the Types of Cylinder Heads?

The following are the types of a cylinder head:

Flathead Cylinder Heads

These primitive designs are the forerunners of engines in terms of evolution. They have fewer moving parts and inefficient airflow, leading to worse engine performance.

Overhead Valve Cylinder Heads

These cylinder heads significantly improve over flathead designs because they have camshafts above them that allow for more efficient airflow via connected pushrods and valves.

Overhead Camshaft Cylinder Heads

These designs eliminate the need for pushrods, integrate camshafts into the cylinder head, and represent the pinnacle of cylinder head engineering. This invention maximizes airflow, raising engine efficiency.

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What are the Problems with Cylinder Heads?

Cracking is one of the most common problems with cylinder heads. It usually results from engine overheating. Coolant leaks from a fractured cylinder head can exacerbate engine overheating and perhaps allow oil to enter the combustion chambers.

These issues present as symptoms like poor engine performance and misfires. These might worsen when expensive repairs or an engine replacement is required.

Address overheating as soon as possible! Ignoring the underlying cause will worsen the problem. It can possibly cause irreversible damage to the engine and cylinder head.

Which Component is Part of the Cylinder Head Assembly?

The cylinder head assembly comprises several finely engineered parts that work together. They guarantee engine performance and efficiency. Now, let's examine the parts that make up the cylinder head assembly:

Cylinder Head

This part is tucked away on top of the cylinder block. It accommodates intake and exhaust valves and accessories like guides and valve seats. It also seals the cylinder.


Intake and exhaust valves serve as gatekeepers, controlling the flow of air and exhaust gasses into and out of the combustion chamber in response to camshaft movements.

Valve Spring

These springs are positioned above the valves to guarantee fast valve closure. They provide a healing force that pulls the valves back to their initial positions after operation.

Valve Guide

This tubular part functions as a conduit for valve movement. It provides support and lubrication, which are necessary for seamless valve functioning.

Intake Manifold

The intake manifold is crucial to maximizing combustion because it guides the air-fuel combination from the intake into the cylinder.

Fuel Injector

The fuel injector controls the fuel supply, guaranteeing optimal engine performance, whether injected directly or indirectly into the intake manifold or cylinder.

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The Bottom Line

Knowing what is a cylinder head is a symbol of the never-ending search for performance and efficiency in automotive engineering. The development of cylinder heads is reflected in the never-ending innovation propelling the automotive sector ahead. Comprehending its complexities enables both amateurs and experts to recognize the intricacy of engines and the painstaking craftsmanship that underpins their functioning.