What Is the Function of a Cylinder Head?

by Andrea Stein
itstillruns article image
luxury car - model toy car image by alma_sacra from Fotolia.com

Internal combustion engines generate power from fossil fuel. This process produces vast amount of heat. The purpose of many components of your auto's engine is to dissipate heat. Such is one of the roles of the cylinder head. Cylinder heads keep a car from overheating as well as house a few parts that are integral to the combustion that makes your giddyup go.


A cylinder head is the closed, and often detachable, end of a cylinder located in a car’s internal combustion engine. It is typically found on the top portion of the engine block.The cylinder head contains such parts as valves, valve seats, guides, springs, and rocker arm supports. It also serves as a conduit for fuel and coolant. Your vehicle may have one head over each bank of cylinders or a different arrangement.


The cylinder head is made up of many channels or passageways. These passageways are used as a conduit to enable air and fuel, a fluid mixture vital to efficient engine operation, to reach the combustion chamber. Exhaust fumes also exit the combustion chamber and reach the exhaust valve via these passageways.


The cylinder head helps to keep the engine cool. The passageways enable coolant to circulate through the cylinder head and flow through the head gasket. This circulation of coolant through these and subsequent other parts of the coolant system keep the engine from overheating.

More Articles

article divider