What is a Cylinder Head Rebuild?

Categories: Cylinder Head Tips

As your vehicle begins to age, the likelihood of issues with your cylinder head only starts to increase. The good news is that this is part of your vehicle that can be replaced or repaired, which is where a cylinder head rebuild is a great option. A cylinder head rebuild is when you only replace the damaged or underperforming parts of the cylinder head, usually the springs, injector sleeves, or valves. By replacing these parts and ensuring your engine remains in top condition, you can work to keep your beloved vehicle on the road for many years to come.


Signs Your Cylinder Head Needs Rebuilding

Consider a cylinder head rebuild for multiple reasons. The overheating of the cylinder head is one of the most common issues experienced as vehicles age. It clearly shows an issue with the cylinder head; the coolant cannot pass through. Loss of engine power is another sign of a significant problem with your engine or cylinder head, and when the cylinder head cracks or breaks, this can also reduce the vehicle’s performance. Oil contamination may also lead to the cylinder head requiring a rebuild, so if your oil light indicator goes on or you see oil dripping out, we recommend checking out this problem with a mechanic.


Steps Involved in a Cylinder Head Rebuild

For a cylinder head to be rebuilt effectively, there are multiple stages that you need to go through. First, disassembling the cylinder head is required to find the root cause and the parts that need replacing. Upon inspecting the components, a mechanic can identify how much work is needed to rebuild the cylinder head. Once the parts are selected, the machining process will put these new parts in place. The gaskets and seals will also need to be replaced with new parts, ensuring all areas of the cylinder head have a firm seal to avoid future issues. Reassembly is the final stage of the process before the cylinder head can be placed back into the engine and the vehicle tested before hitting the road again.


Common Reasons for Cylinder Head Rebuilds

Wear and tear is one of the most common reasons for cylinder head rebuilds. You’ll find that as your vehicle ages, the chance of needing your cylinder head rebuilt or replaced increases year after year. This need is especially true if you drive many miles annually on your vehicle, increasing the chance of damaged valves or valve seals. A warped or cracked head is another common concern that could lead to rebuilding your cylinder head and making your engine unsafe if left too long without attention.


DIY vs. Professional Rebuilding

When rebuilding your cylinder head, you typically have two options. You can either DIY this task alone or outsource the work to a professional experienced at completing this job regularly. DIYing this job has pros and cons, but you must be experienced and confident at working with your vehicle even to consider it. Of course, you can poetically save thousands of dollars on this job if you do it yourself, as it can be costly to do this with a professional.

Professionals will ensure the work is completed in a timely manner without any issues and will know how to identify the components that need replacing in your rebuild. They’ll also be able to check out other parts of your car to reduce the chance of significant damage or issues in the future. Your budget and the task’s urgency will likely determine which option you choose when choosing between DIY or professional services.


Cost Considerations of Rebuilding Cylinder Heads

Rebuilding or replacing a cylinder head can be very costly, costing some vehicle owners thousands of dollars, depending on their vehicle. The damage to your cylinder head will be the most significant factor in determining the rebuild cost. When you examine the cylinder head initially, you’ll get a better idea of the cost of the overall work. A mechanic can also guide you at that stage and help you understand how much you will need to spend to resolve your current issues fully. Regarding reducing the cost of your cylinder head rebuild, we recommend DIYing the job if you feel comfortable doing this. Otherwise, the best option is to consider this potential cost when budgeting for car maintenance each year to prepare you for it in the future if needed.


Maintenance Tips to Prevent Rebuilding

As a vehicle owner, there are multiple steps you can take to try to prevent a cylinder head rebuild. The most important thing to do is regularly inspect your vehicle to see if there are any current issues or ones you can avoid by identifying them before it is too late. Proper cooling system maintenance is something every car owner needs to consider to prevent overheating. Oil changes should occur every few thousand miles to keep your engine in good condition and work to avoid a rebuild in the near future.

Cylinder heads are critical for you to be able to run your vehicle safely and effectively for many years to come. By ensuring you inspect your vehicle regularly, you can work to prevent a rebuild or replacement in the near future. If you notice any common issues or reasons to rebuild a cylinder head that we’ve shared above, timely maintenance will help avoid further damage to your cylinder head or engine. As discussed, you can DIY this project or work with a mechanic. Still, we always recommend seeking professional advice about rebuilding your cylinder head if you are experiencing this issue.



Clearwater Cylinder Head (CCH) is a supplier of both new and refurbished cylinder heads. Please contact us to confirm we have your specific cylinder head in stock.