Being able to identify the onset of cylinder head problems can prevent unnecessary inconvenience. An overheating engine is the most common cause of such damage. When the temperature is higher than optimal, it exerts undue pressure on the head resulting in expansion beyond capacity. Eventually, it gets distorted through warping or cracking.  

These issues mainly arise due to bad maintenance practices, wear, and the poor performance of other components. Often, the auto repair expert is able to patch up the damage without removing the head. In other cases, disassembly is required for troubleshooting and repairs. If the cylinder head is broken or distorted, replacing it does not necessarily fix the problem.

It is therefore vital for you to determine the underlying cause so you can limit the likelihood of it happening again.

Reasons for Overheating

  • The coolant levels may fall below what is recommended by the vehicle manufacturer or there may be external leaks around parts such as the radiator, hoses, water pump and gasket.
  • Also, when the coolant is replaced during maintenance and repair tasks, air pockets may be formed reducing the effectiveness of the cooling system. Overheating will occur if the air is not removed before startup.
  • A defective thermostat will cause similar problems since it will not open and close at the predefined temperature.

Signs of Overheating

There are obvious signs that will indicate a possible hitch in the cooling system which could result in the damage of the cylinder head and related components. A strong odour which is often described as sweet and rubbery when you are driving should be taken seriously since it means that the coolant is leaking right into the cylinder.

Another indicator of an overheated engine is gray smoke being expelled through the exhaust pipe. The most evident display of an engine that will overheat is leaking coolant and can be identified as a puddle of fluid below the vehicle. The coolant light in the car will also be on to signify the issue. Often, the head is usually cracked causing loss of the fluid and subsequent high temperatures.


Detecting cylinder head problems and troubleshooting overheated engines will ensure that you are able to seek auto repair assistance before acceleration of the issue. It is also crucial for the car owner and the mechanic to act according to the manufacturer specification with regard to refilling the coolant and maintenance needs of components such as the radiator and clutch fan.

If you sense that something is wrong with the cylinder head of your vehicle, talk to experts such as Reconditioning Services for an inspection.