cylinder head

Car Basics 101: The Cylinder Head

There are so many parts in a car that help make it run. Everything works together so you can continue with that everyday commute. We’ve talked before on specific engine parts, but today I want to be a little more specific with one in particular; the cylinder head.

You can’t have an engine without a cylinder head and it’s usually the first thing you see when you open the hood (or trunk in some cases). Which is why I think it’s important for you to know what exactly it is and does for your engine! So stay tuned 🙂

Car Basics 101:

The Cylinder Head

I say it’s the first thing you see when you look at your engine because, in most cases, the cylinder head sits right on top of the engine block. The cylinder head, or as most people refer it to as the ‘head’, performs a lot of tasks that help your car run.

One of the most important jobs it has is the intake of air and fuel inside the cylinder while getting rid of exhaust gases. Of course, we know cars need some type of fuel to perform, so the head helps with the intake of that, and making sure those exhaust gases are passed through properly with the help if the intake and exhaust manifolds.

Another important job it has is to channel coolant to the engine block, which we all know is extremely important to help regulate the temperature of your engine.

There are a couple of types of cylinder heads but all perform very similarly.

Here are the types out there:

Flathead– which was the first type of head on a car and because of that, do not perform well compared to the others. They still protect the cylinder block, but don’t allow for efficient airflow like the others.

Intake overhead– this is a step up from the flathead since it’s the first to have the valves positioned in the head. The exhaust valves are in the block & the intake valves are in the head.

Overhead valve– This type of head was the first to have the intake and exhaust valves in the cylinder head. Also, the camshaft is located in the block.

Overhead camshaft– This type is very similar to the overhead valve because the valves are still position in the head. However, the camshaft(s) are positioned above the valves so they can be activated directly.  Now, the camshaft is connected to the crankshaft by the timing belt. This is the most popular type of head nowadays since it performs better & operates more smoothly than the others.

Heads can crack which is going to be a nightmare to replace. Not only are they expensive, but depending on where your heads are located, can take a lot of time to replace.

If you keep your engine properly maintained though, you should never have a problem with a cylinder head! Happy driving and #motorwithconfidence

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