Overhead camshaft
Overhead cam valvetrain
Valvetrain is an all-encompassing term used to describe the mechanisms and parts which control the operation of the valves. A traditional reciprocating internal combustion engine uses valves to control air and fuel flow into and out of the cylinders, facilitating combustion.-Layout:Valvetrain: The...

 configurations place the engine camshaft
A camshaft is a shaft to which a cam is fastened or of which a cam forms an integral part.-History:An early cam was built into Hellenistic water-driven automata from the 3rd century BC. The camshaft was later described in Iraq by Al-Jazari in 1206. He employed it as part of his automata,...

 within the cylinder head
Cylinder head
In an internal combustion engine, the cylinder head sits above the cylinders on top of the cylinder block. It closes in the top of the cylinder, forming the combustion chamber. This joint is sealed by a head gasket...

s, above the combustion chamber
Combustion chamber
A combustion chamber is the part of an engine in which fuel is burned.-Internal combustion engine:The hot gases produced by the combustion occupy a far greater volume than the original fuel, thus creating an increase in pressure within the limited volume of the chamber...

s, and drive the valves
Poppet valve
A poppet valve is a valve consisting of a hole, usually round or oval, and a tapered plug, usually a disk shape on the end of a shaft also called a valve stem. The shaft guides the plug portion by sliding through a valve guide...

 or lifter
A tappet is the noise made by a worn cam follower, however the term is widely used to represent the cam follower itself. In mechanical engineering it is a projection which imparts a linear motion to some other component within an assembly...

s in a more direct manner compared to overhead valve
Overhead valve
An overhead valve engine, also informally called pushrod engine or I-head engine, is a type of piston engine that places the camshaft within the cylinder block , and uses pushrods or rods to actuate rocker arms above the cylinder...

s (OHV) and pushrods. Compared to OHV pushrod (or I-Head) systems with the same number of valves the reciprocating components of the OHC system are fewer and have a lower total mass. Though the system that drives the cams may become more complex, most engine manufacturers easily accept that added complexity in trade for better engine performance and greater design flexibility.