A engine's head casting number can be found in several different locations on the part depending on the make, model and year of a vehicle. The code can be composed of a series of numbers and/or letters, which help distinguish it from similar automotive parts.
The information provided by a casting number can correspond to information about a part's specifications as well as when and where it was manufactured. Casting numbers can be found on a vehicle's connecting rods, crankshafts, cylinder heads and engine blocks.
While the formula used in imprinting an engine part with a casting number can be arbitrary and specific to one manufacturer, it is an important tool used by car enthusiasts. Those who appreciate authenticity in an older vehicle place a higher value on a vehicle in which the casting numbers prove the part original to an automobile.
While most cast parts are stamped with a number, date or other information during the manufacturing process, some parts are missing the code because the part has been retooled, which can erase the number.
Some companies and websites offer a database of vehicle casting numbers that are searchable by vehicle date or type, which provide pertinent information about the part in question.