The Complete Outline of Your Car’s Cylinder Head

If you are upgrading your ride, looking at getting an aftermarket cylinder head may be something you will want to consider. Cylinder heads make a very important element in raising the horsepower of your vehicle. This is because many things flow through it including exhaust, fuel and air.

When considering a new cylinder head, you will need to look at the size and shape of the ports. This is because a different size or shape will in turn affect the compression and gas flow through the engine. This article will give you an overlook of cylinder heads and what a performance one can do for you.

How Does a Cylinder Head Work?

Most vehicles use an internal combustion system to run. Thus, many parts within your vehicle serves the purpose of helping to disperse that heat that is created. It is also responsible for controlling the combustion procedure while it also lets gas exhaust to come in and out of the engine. You can find your cylinder head bolted to the engine block and then sealed with a head gasket. You will also find the intake and exhaust manifold attached to the head with gaskets. The head houses valves, seats, guides, springs, and rocker arm supports.

Channels within the head allow the air fuel combination to flow properly. This maintains proper ratio to create the combustion your engine needs for power. It also allows the exhaust to leave the chamber. Cooling happens as the cylinder head allows coolant to flow and circulate through the head gasket keeping the engine and other components from overheating.

Typically head gaskets are made out of cast aluminum or iron. Extreme conditions that create too much heat can cause a cylinder head to expand beyond its capabilities. This can cause it to crack or blow the head gasket. Thus, if you are using your vehicle in a manner other than regular street driving, such as racing or performance applications, then you may want to consider an aftermarket cylinder head. It will be able to handle the increase in heat and also be able to more efficiently compress the gas flow to help create more power.

General Specifications

  • Heads dictate the engines personality and power curve, and helps it breathe;
  • Holds valves and creates chambers;
  • Choosing the correct one will give you optimal power and RPM ranges;
  • Aftermarket heads give you better throttle response and horsepower;
  • Typically sits on top of the engine secured by bolts;
  • Houses ports and valves that deliver air, fuel, and exhaust;
  • Sealed by head gasket;
  • Many different configurations to suit your need.

The PROs and CONs of Tuning Your Cylinder Head


  • Thermal coating: Many aftermarket cylinder heads will coat the combustion chambers with a thermal coating that will reflect the heat. This allows better heat dissipation and better horsepower.
  • Aftermarket cylinder heads can handle heat better. This is necessary if you are using your vehicle for a more demanding purpose such as drag racing or circle racing. It will mean less cracking or the possibility of blowing your head gasket.
  • Increased torque and power when you choose the correct head for your application.
  • Multiple arrangements and valve sizing to match your needs.
  • Delivers peak power and RPM.
  • Ideal throttle response.


  • Cannot just choose one based on size or flow number. You will have to do the work to take many things into consideration such as application, vehicle weight, tranny type, etc.
  • Choosing the incorrect aftermarket head can be counterproductive to what you are trying to accomplish.
  • Selection can be confusing. Aftermarket heads offer different port locations, intake and exhaust port configurations, raised or stock port locations, runner volumes, valve sizes and angles, chamber sizes, and spring pads.

Examples of Aftermarket Cylinder Heads

Trick Flow® Twisted Wedge® 185 Cylinder Heads for Ford

  • Trick flow offers a great selection of high performance cylinder heads. They have also become one of the leading designing and manufacturing choices for many people looking into upgrading their rides.
  • They even offer aftermarket intakes and engine components. These can all help you build the torque you are looking for.
  • Customers love the durability of these heads. They also appreciate the ¾ inch threading on this particular head that helps eliminate blown plugs.

BluePrint Engines Muscle Series Cylinder Heads PS8015B

  • With over 20 years under their belt, BluePrint has shown its passion for speed. They have a heavy reputation within many racing circuits and are known for their high quality aftermarket parts and engines.
  • They definitely stand behind their products and offer top notch service.
  • Customers keep coming back for their expertise and durable parts that are well worth the price.

Dart 01111102 Small Block Chevy Iron Eagle Top End Kit

  • Founded in 1981, Dart has claimed a top spot in the manufacturing of aftermarket cylinder heads, intake manifolds, and engine blocks.
  • Their engines have won plenty of events and awards making their name well known among racers. They continue to stay up to date with state of the art methods to bring incredible products to the table.
  • Customers feel Dart’s products are an ideal choice for street performance applications. They speak highly of the product quality and durability. Also, they enjoy the friendliness and knowledge of the Dart staff that is always ready to help.

Wrap Up

Upgrading your ride to get more torque and power out of it means that many components have to be taken into consideration for an upgrade. Your cylinder head is no exception to that rule. An increase in power means more heat and your heads will need to be able to handle it. Luckily, there is a world of options out there to choose from. And when you take the time to figure out which aftermarket cylinder head is right for your application, you will find a noticeable increase in your engine performance.

Scroll to Top