Cylinder Head Cracks: Symptoms & Repair Cost

Engines. If you love your car you’ve got to love its engine too, because without it your vehicle is going nowhere at all. Inside that engine you will find a whole host individual parts and components all working together in perfect harmony so that when you press the gas pedal, the vehicle will move.

That’s all well and good, provided that all the parts and components are happy and working together. When they start to fail though you can see this in reduced engine performance and perhaps even a complete breakdown.

No one wants that, so in this article we’re going to take a look at one of the more vulnerable parts of the engine, the plucky little cylinder heads. We’ll go through the symptoms you’ll see if your very own cylinder minds are cracked, and we’ll measure the price you’ll likely encounter to correct them.

Exactly what is a Cylinder Mind?

The Cylinder Mind is an essential component within an inner combustion engine. If you drive a power vehicle – great job, you haven’t any cylinder minds to split.

For most people generating around in traditional gas driven cars nevertheless, we are counting on Cylinder Minds to greatly help power our automobiles. Just what exactly are they?

Well, within the engine block of an internal combustion engine you will find cylinders. It is within these cylinders that gas and air flow mix and are sparked into combustion. This combustion causes the drive chain of the vehicle to move (via pistons) which in turn transfer energy to the driving wheels of the car.

The short version of that? Small controlled explosions in tubes move the vehicle forwards (or backwards).

How cool is usually that?

What About the Cylinder Heads?

We’re getting there, jeez.

The cylinder heads can be found, as their name suggests, near the top of the cylinder. The minds close the cylinder and support the gas and surroundings mixture in addition to the combustion impact. They then available to vent the exhaust gases.

They do that thousands of moments each and every minute, and every time they close they make a pressure seal inside the cylinder. Every time they open up these are enveloped in scorching gases.

That is clearly a pretty challenging life, which explains why Cylinder Minds are constructed of challenging materials. On old cars they are generally made of iron for example, whilst modern cars will opt for aluminium as the material of choice.

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So What’s The Problem?

The problem is usually that whilst they are made of tough metal, they also have to be pretty lightweight. If the cylinder was too heavy, it would not be able to comprehensive its arc of motion inside the cylinder quickly more than enough. That would imply that the engine would much less be effective.

For automobile manufacturers then it really is a cautious balancing action. On the main one hands the Cylinder Mind must be challenging more than enough to last through many years of services – nobody wants to become stripping and replacing their Mind every six months.

Within the additional it must be lightweight enough to perform it’s function without influencing engine overall performance.

Cylinder Head

Sounds Like a Tough Gig

It is, but vehicle manufacturers have just about got the method down by now. Generally speaking an aluminium cylinder head is going to give you around five years of useful lifestyle. An iron you can occasionally last just a little much longer, say six as well as seven years.

After that time frame, every cylinder mind is likely to be at risk of breaking. Luckily, there are a variety of symptoms you could search for that indicate a damaged cylinder mind.

Symptoms to look out for consist of:

Symptoms of a Damaged Cylinder Mind

1. Period

Not totally an indicator but certainly something to note. If your automobile is completely new to up to about two or three years old, then any issues with the engine are unlikely to be related to a cracked cylinder head. Please note that we said unlikely, not impossible!

2. Leaking Oil

The Cylinder Head contains oil. This serves to both lubricate its movement and also to assist with dissipating warmth. Both very useful functions, so thank you oil! As maybe expected when something splits though, a cracked Cylinder Head is going to start seeping that oil quite quickly.

Cylinder Head

There’s a couple of method this indicator could present itself. First you might see a patch of essential oil which has pooled within the engine when you yourself have the automobile parked ready for a period.

Subsequently, on today’s car at least, you can find the good older “Check Essential oil” engine light pop-up for the dashboard screen.

3. Coolant Leak

Liquid coolant is also deployed in and around the area of the engine blocks that contains the Cylinder Heads. Liquid coolant serves the purpose of, well, helping to keep things cool, including the Heads themselves. So again, when they crack this can lead to coolant leak.

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Just as with the oil leaks this can present itself in a couple of different ways. So on the one hand you may get a visual clue. This could be an obvious sign of coolant liquid leaking out mixed in with leaking oil – it could also be coolant leaking by itself.

You are also going to get a warning light pinging into existence for the dash screen. This one would be the “Examine Engine Temp” light. It is because when the Cylinder Mind are seeping coolant, you can naturally have much less coolant in the engine to, well, maintain it awesome.

4. Poor Efficiency

We’re simply discussing the engine right here; so don’t proceed operating out to obtain the very little blue pills. Once we referred to above, the Cylinder Heads play a large component in the operating of an interior combustion engine.

Which means when the Mind are cracked, they’ll affect engine efficiency. Specifically, they’ll not have the ability to form the entire seal that’s needed is for effective combustion. Rather, compressed atmosphere will be allowed to leak out meaning that each combustion stroke in the engine is weaker than it should be.

That in turn is going to translate into weak engine performance. You will likely notice this the most when you place performance pressures on the vehicle. For example the vehicle may struggle when driving up an incline or it may be sluggish when pulling away from a standing start, such as when a red light changes to green.

5. Misfiring Engine

This also relates somewhat to the point above. Again, as we described above, the Cylinder Head closes the cylinder to create the pressurized atmosphere into which the gas and air mixture is usually injected and ignited to cause combustion.

If the Cylinder Head is cracked the cylinder won’t be held at the right pressure, meaning the combination of gas and atmosphere will never be correct. This may result in poor combustion, which impacts performance (as referred to above).

In serious cases additionally, it may result in that combustion not really happening in any way! If so, the engine will misfire. That is of course likely to possess a severe effect on engine efficiency.

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Additionally it is going to have got a bad influence on the engine all together nevertheless. A misfired cylinder will dsicover the contents of this cylinder having through the whole engine system. Energy that has not really been burnt correctly in the cylinders may damage and gum up elements additional down the engine system.

For this reason, misfires are one of the more serious symptoms of a cracked Cylinder Head and should be investigated – and repaired – promptly.

6. Smoking Engine

Last but not least, and we have saved the best (or rather worst) for last. When a Cylinder Head is extremely damaged, it may start to vent exhaust gases directly into the engine space. This will present to you, the driver, as smoke leaking out from under the hood.

A Cylinder head in this condition is really on it’s last legs and must be replaced as soon as possible – in reality, that really means that it needs to be replaced pretty much immediately.

We would strongly recommend that you don’t let your Cylinder Minds get to the idea they are exhibiting this symptom. Rather, look out for the four symptoms above, and substitute your minds before they reach the stage of spewing smoke cigarettes everywhere!

The expense of Repairing a Damaged Cylinder Mind

Those will be the symptoms of a damaged Cylinder Head. Today guess what happens to consider, naturally in the event that you notice some of them you tend – or at least suggested – to consider your automobile to an expert mechanic for something.

If the problems does grow to be a damaged Cylinder Head, you might be wondering the actual financial harm will end up being.

Changing a damaged Cylinder Head isn’t a very demanding job for a well-equipped mechanics shop. An average price to replace an aluminium Cylinder Mind, including parts and labor, will maintain the spot of $500.

Changing an iron Cylinder Mind could be a little more costly, due to the fact these parts are harder to supply. With an iron cylinder mind, the substitute parts alone could be billed out for $500 independently. Add labor fees and changing an iron Cylinder Head can find yourself charging from about $800 up to $1,000.


So there you have it, you know what to look out for and a ball park estimate of how much it will cost to fix a cracked Cylinder Head.

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