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What to look for when buying a cylinder head
A cylinder head is located on the top of the cylinder block in the engine of a motor vehicle. It provides horsepower by processing fuel, air and exhaust through the cylinder head. The compression is affected by the size and shape of the cylinder head, which also affects the flow of gases through the engine.
The engine configuration is determined by the number of cylinder heads it has. The number of cylinder heads varies with the type of engine. For example, a flat engine has two heads, while most radial engines have one head for each cylinder.

The buying decision
The performance of the engine is enhanced by thaving he right set of aluminum or cast iron cylinder heads. Cast iron cylinder heads are durable and are produced at a low cost, therefore they are generally less expensive than aluminum cylinder heads. OEM cylinder heads are usually made of cast iron.
Performance is increased in cast iron cylinder heads with larger valves and increased flow design. Cast iron, however, does not have the ability to dissipate heat like aluminum does.
On the other hand, aluminum cylinder heads have a weight advantage when compared to cast iron. They dissipate heat better and therefore they provide a higher compression ratio. They are better suited for performance vehicles because of their weight advantage.

Making the purchase
After determining whether to buy a cast iron or aluminum cylinder head, the next step is to make the purchase. 
Key considerations in making a purchase include information about the vehicle it is being bought for: 
(a)   Make, model, and year
(b)   Engine size (cubic inch or liter)
(c)   Turbo or non-turbo
(d)   Casting number on the cylinder head

  • Always shop around to get the best price.


  • Make the purchase from a reputable dealer
  • Remanufactured cylinder heads provide the advantage of costing less than half the price of a new one.  They are rebuilt with serviceable parts. 


  • Choose OEM.  This means that the cylinder heads are built with higher standards.
  • Be familiar with the return policy of the store, as the cylinder head purchased may need to be returned. Find out whether the store allows a cash refund or exchange only and choose the store with the best option.


  • Check out the warranty being offered by the store.  Choose the best offer.
  • Determine the shipping and handling charges.  Some stores may offer free shipping and handling while other may charge for the shipping and handling.


  • Stay conservative.  High performance cylinder heads are not necessary for streets with low speed limits. In this case, a high performance option would not meet the needs of the engine and be a significant loss in performance.
  • Choose a cylinder head that matches the need of the motor vehicle.