How Much Horsepower Does a Camshaft Add?

Installing a performance camshaft is known to increase horsepower, but how much varies depending on the type of camshaft installed.

Many different camshafts are available on the market, each designed to deliver specific results. When choosing a camshaft, it is essential to consult with an expert to ensure you are selecting the best option for your engine and driving style.

This article will explain how much hp a cam will add, how a camshaft works, and how installing a high-performance option can increase horsepower. We’ll also look at ways to boost the horsepower output even further.

How Much HP Does a Cam Add?

Generally speaking, replacing the stock camshaft with a high-performance option can increase 10-20 horsepower. However, this number can go up significantly if other modifications are made to the engine simultaneously, such as through stage 1 and stage 2 mods.

Installing a performance camshaft is proven to increase horsepower. While it’s true that a camshaft adds horsepower, it’s only 10-20 horsepower and generally less than a 10% increase.

The often-quoted 50-100 horsepower gain is mostly a myth, but a performance camshaft combined with other upgrades can give you the desired horsepower.

So, before you go out and spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a camshaft upgrade, be realistic about the power gains you can expect.

Consider other engine mods like a bigger throttle body, headers, and exhaust if you’re looking for more than just a handful of extra horsepower.

These bolt-on upgrades will give you a more significant power increase than just a camshaft upgrade. Furthermore, they are often less expensive than a new camshaft.

So, if you are looking to get the most bang for your buck, consider other engine mods before upgrading your camshaft.

How the Camshaft Work

For your engine to function, it needs these components: Piston, Cylinder Block (or block), Camshaft, Crankshaft and Connecting Rods, Timing Belt or Chain; Intake System, including the manifold, carburetor or throttle body, and fuel injectors; and the Exhaust System.

The camshaft is just one of many engine parts, though it is essential. It helps open and close the valves at the right time so that air can flow into and out of the cylinders.

The camshaft also helps control the spark’s timing so that the fuel can be burned in the cylinders at just the right time.

The camshaft is essential because it helps control the air and fuel that flows into the cylinders.

The more air and fuel that flows into the cylinders, the more power the engine will have. The camshaft can also help to increase the engine’s torque or twisting force.

Most camshafts will add between 5 and 20 horsepower to an engine. Some high-performance camshafts can even add more horsepower than that, but a lot depends on the setup.

Of course, the amount of power a camshaft can add depends on many factors, such as the engine’s size, the type of camshaft, and how the camshaft is used.

Camshaft Replacement Cost

Replacing a camshaft is an expensive repair that costs anywhere from $700 to $3,000, depending on the vehicle. However, the average cost for most makes and models ranges between 1,300-$1,600, with labor estimated at around $800-$1100, while parts are priced at around $400-$500. Taxes are not included in this estimate.

This repair may also require other related maintenance, increasing the cost.

How Long Does a Camshaft Take to Replace?

Most shops we’ve asked agree that replacing a camshaft will take about 16 hours of labor, depending on the type of engine in the vehicle. The process of replacing the camshaft is relatively easy, depending on if the engine has to be dropped or not. Specialized mechanics could replace the camshaft in less than a day.

Tips When Replacing the Camshaft

Replacing a camshaft in your car’s engine can seem like a daunting task, but it can be a breeze with the right tips.

Below, we will provide you with four tips to make the process as smooth as possible.

Tip #1: Make Sure You Set the Timing Correctly

To replace the camshaft in a car’s engine, following timing marks and tools is essential.

If you don’t have any factory marks to follow or tools to lock the camshaft or crankshaft into place, you can use nail polish or a paint pen to make your own marks.

You should put the engine at the top dead center (TDC) of whatever cylinder the manufacturer recommends before removing the camshafts.

On reassembly, you should back the crankshaft just a little bit, making sure the pistons are at the top of the movement.

When bolting the camshafts down, you will be opening some valves, and you want to make sure you don’t damage any other cylinder in the engine.

Tip #2: Replace Related Parts

When replacing a camshaft in your car’s engine, be sure also to replace any related parts, such as bearings and lifters.

Otherwise, you may run into costly problems later on. Be sure to mark the location of each component so that it goes back in the same spot.

Tip #3: Lubricate The Camshaft

Before installation, make sure you lubricate the bearings and lobes on the camshaft. Many different assemblies lubes are available for this procedure, depending on desired results.

Some manufacturers recommend soaking lifters in engine oil before installation.

This method, however, only works for hydraulic lifters and engines. If you soak the lifters, be sure to follow any wait time recommendations before starting the engine.

#Tip 4: After the Camshaft Installation

You need to rotate the engine and inspect the camshaft after replacing it.

Make sure you start the car and go to 2,000 RPM for 20-30 minutes. This will make sure there is proper oil pressure for the camshaft.


Installing a performance camshaft is a great way to increase horsepower in an engine.

While it’s true that camshafts add horsepower, they are only able to make 10-20 horsepower on average (this varies depending on what kind of car you have).

Consider other engine modifications before upgrading your camshaft if you’re looking for more than a few extra horses and want to make a significant change.

Other, easier upgrades will give you more significant power increases and is often less expensive than a new camshaft, such as replacing the turbo.

Replacing the camshaft requires much work and is not quickly done by the average DIY guy. It takes much time to replace the camshaft, which usually requires some expertise.

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Robin Söder

Robin has always been passionate about cars ever since young age. Over the years, Robin has worked on thousands of cars and gained invaluable experience in the process. He is considered an expert in his field and is often consulted by other mechanics for advice.

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