What does it cost to repair engine valves and cylinder heads?
The average to repair or replace a cracked cylinder head is $2,000 to $4,000 per head. A burnt valve is around $800-$1,000.
How do valves and heads work?
A cylinder head seals the cylinders completely off from the engine. Mounted directly to the engine block, it includes oil galleys (that direct oil to engine parts) and coolant passages constantly flowing to get rid of engine heat. The exhaust manifold and intake manifold bolt into the cylinder head. Then, on the very top of the head is the valve train which is made up of the camshaft, valves, rocker arms, valve springs, and pushrods, all working together to control the valves. The valves open and close, allowing the air and fuel mix into the combustion chambers and letting exhaust gases out while alternately sealing the combustion chamber on the compression and power strokes. Combustion takes place when all valves in the chamber are closed and the spark plug fires.
In a four-cylinder inline engine, there is one cylinder head. In a “V” configuration, such as a V6 or V8 engine, there are two cylinder heads. Cylinder heads can have two, four, or even more valves per cylinder.
A warped or cracked cylinder head and a burnt or bent valve prevent proper compression of the air-fuel mixture. The result is weak combustion which makes it hard to start your engine.
This could stem from the same problem that gave you hard starting. Another possible answer is a burnt valve or improper valve-to-valve seat contact which allows for the air-fuel mix or exhaust gases to blow past the valve.
Loss of combustion chamber integrity can result in misfires, after fires, backfires, pinging, or dieseling. The reasons could be a burnt valve, a weak or broken valve spring, a warped or cracked head, or a blown head gasket.
Noticing leaks in the oil seals or engine oil leaking into the coolant? A warped or cracked head, a blown head gasket, or a worn valve stem or valve-stem guide may have allowed engine oil to seep into the combustion chamber. Blue smoke coming from the tailpipe is also a sign that engine oil is infiltrating the combustion process.
Abnormal noises coming from the top of the engine could be due to a broken valve spring, a worn valve stem, or a worn valve-stem guide. If it’s a cracked cylinder head, you might hear a ticking or popping noise every time the cylinder fires (but only if the crack extends into the combustion chamber).
The same culprit that’s responsible for hard starting and poor idling also cause a lack of engine power. But it could also be a clogged exhaust system.
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How urgent are valve and heads repairs?
The cylinder head and its components are pretty vital. If the head is compromised or the valves aren’t operating normally, engine performance is majorly affected. Your car may be inoperable.