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The cylinder head is placed on top of the engine block, and contains the engine valves. As the car runs, the valves open and close, allowing air in, and expelling exhaust gases in the process. Cylinder heads house the camshafts in overhead camshaft engine designs, but not in overhead valve engine designs. The cylinder head also contains oiling and cooling passages. V-configured engines have two cylinder heads, while inline engines have just one.
If the engine valves are not sealing properly, then the engine won’t have a proper amount of compression. This will impact the power of the engine, making the car less powerful. You may experience hesitation and rough running as well.
When the valves or heads are having issues, you may to hear a tapping or ticking noise coming from the engine.
If a cylinder head is cracked, then engine coolant may enter the combustion chamber, where it will be burned off. This will lower the amount of coolant in your car. It also may result in white smoke emitting from your tailpipe, and possible engine overheating. Similarly, busted valve guides or seals often allow oil into the combustion chamber. This results in oil loss, and sometimes a blue or gray smoke from the tailpipe.
An issue with the engine valves or cylinder head will result in the engine not running properly. This alerts your car’s computer, which will trigger the check engine warning light on your dashboard.
Cylinder heads and engine valves are vital parts of your car’s engine. If they fail, they risk causing serious damage to the rest of the engine. All issues with heads and valves should be addressed immediately.
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