How Much Does It Cost to Install a Camshaft? A Comprehensive Guide for Car Enthusiasts

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Are you a car enthusiast looking to improve your vehicle’s performance? If so, installing a new camshaft is one way to achieve that. A camshaft controls the valve timing in your engine, allowing for better airflow and fuel combustion. But how much does it cost to install a camshaft? In this guide, we’ll break down the costs and everything else you need to know before undertaking this project.

What is a Camshaft?

Before we dive into the costs of installing a camshaft, let’s first understand what a camshaft is and how it works. In an internal combustion engine, a camshaft is responsible for controlling the valve timing. It rotates, causing the cam lobes to push against the valve lifters, which in turn open and close the engine valves. The timing and duration of the valve opening and closing determine how much air and fuel enter the engine, affecting horsepower, torque, and overall engine performance.

The Cost of Installing a Camshaft

The cost of installing a camshaft can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the type of camshaft you choose, your vehicle’s make and model, and where you have it installed. Here’s a breakdown of the costs you can expect:

The Camshaft

Camshafts range in price from around $100 to $1,000 or more, depending on the material, design, and manufacturer. Some popular brands include Comp Cams, Crane Cams, and Lunati. Keep in mind that higher-priced camshafts often provide better performance gains, but they also require more installation work and tuning to optimize their potential.

Installation Labor

Installation labor costs can vary depending on where you have the work done. DIY installation can save you money, but only if you have the necessary tools and expertise. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, expect to pay around $400 to $800 for professional installation, depending on your location and the complexity of the job.


After installing a new camshaft, your engine will require tuning to optimize performance and avoid issues such as rough idle, stalling, or reduced power. Tuning can cost anywhere from $400 to $1,000, depending on how extensively you want to modify your vehicle’s engine management system.

Factors Affecting Camshaft Install Cost

Several factors can affect the overall cost of installing a camshaft. Here are some of the most significant:

Vehicle Make and Model

Some vehicles are more conducive to camshaft upgrades than others. For example, older muscle cars with larger engines are often easier and less expensive to work on than modern cars with smaller, more complex engines that require sophisticated engine management systems.

Type of Camshaft

Every camshaft has different specifications, such as lift, duration, and overlap. Choosing a camshaft that complements your vehicle’s other modifications, such as intake and exhaust upgrades, can provide a better performance boost. However, this also requires more tuning and installation work, which can add to the cost.

Professional vs. DIY Installation

Installing a camshaft requires some mechanical knowledge and special tools. If you’re not comfortable working on your vehicle, professional installation can ensure the job is done correctly. However, this will add to the overall cost.

Concluding Thoughts

Installing a camshaft can provide significant performance gains for your vehicle, but it’s not a project for beginners. If you’re considering upgrading your camshaft, take the time to research your options and understand the costs involved. Make sure you choose a camshaft that complements your vehicle’s other modifications and ensure you have the expertise and tools necessary for installation and tuning.


Q: Can I install a camshaft myself?

A: Yes, it is possible to install a camshaft yourself if you’re comfortable working on your vehicle and have the necessary tools. However, it’s a complex job that requires attention to detail, and any mistakes can cause serious engine damage. If you’re unsure of your abilities, it’s best to have a professional handle the installation.

Q: How much horsepower gain can I expect from a new camshaft?

A: The horsepower gain from a new camshaft varies depending on several factors, such as the type of camshaft, your vehicle’s other modifications, and how extensively you tune your engine. On average, a new camshaft can provide a 10-20% increase in horsepower.

Q: What’s the difference between a hydraulic and solid lifter camshaft?

A: Hydraulic lifters use oil pressure to maintain proper valve lash, whereas solid lifters do not have any hydraulic components and require manual adjustment. Hydraulic lifters are quieter and require less maintenance than solid lifters, but solid lifters can provide better performance gains if you’re willing to make the extra effort to adjust them.


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