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Types of Cylinder Heads
There are different types of cylinder heads designed for various kinds engines. The unique design and characteristics of each type contribute a great deal to the efficiency and performance of the engine. The table below discusses each type of cylinder head in more detail.

Cylinder head type


Flathead Engine Cylinder Head

A type of cylinder head design common in early engines; composed of a single slab of metal without mechanical parts; easy to manufacture and assemble; prone to overheating since it keeps exhaust gases inside the combustion chamber for long periods of time

Overhead Valve Engine Cylinder Head

Also known as OHV heads; commonly found in big V8 pushrod engines where cylinder blocks contain the camshaft; includes the valves, intake, and spark mechanisms; less prone to overheating

Overhead Camshaft Engine Cylinder Head

Popularly known as OHC heads; more complex than the flathead and OHV in terms of design; features an embedded camshaft in the head that actuates the valves of the engine and eliminates the need for pushrods; widely used for car engines in the last few decades

Dual Overhead Camshaft Engine Cylinder Head

Also called DOHC heads; a variation of the OHC design that features two camshafts in the head that control the inlet valves and exhaust valves respectively; widely used in modern car engines; may contain multiple valves per cylinder; features integrated variable valve timing systems that improve engine performance

Each type of cylinder head is suitable for a particular type of engine. In order to make the best decision, a car owner should know what type of engine is used for the car. For most drivers, DOHC heads are the best choice since it is the type utilized most commonly by most modern vehicles. If a cylinder head has become damaged, and the owner is looking for an exact replacement, simply look to see what type the old cylinder head is and find a new part of the same type.
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