How Much Can You Hone a Cylinder?

The moment you replace the piston rings in the engine, you have to consider the cylinders too. They will require honing during the piston rings replacements.

You will realize the reason when the rings begin to show signs of wear. Yes, premature deterioration of the piston rings is a thing that happens when you ignore the honing process.

However, it is also a concerning subject when you are unaware of how far to go. So how much can you hone a cylinder? We will get to the point right away.

First, a short detour on the benefits of cylinder honing that will probably stop you from losing interest in the matter.

Is Honing Cylinders Necessary? 

When you hone a cylinder, you are conditioning the cylinder wall surface. This effect creates partially smooth crosshatch impressions in the cylinder bore. Despite the leveled appearance, there is a roughness to it.

It is essential to do the honing as the overall texture helps retain lubrication from the piston rings. Over time, the crosshatch imperfections tend to flatten with constant contact between the cylinder wall and piston ring.

The smoother the surface wall becomes, the harder it gets to conserve that thin layer of oil. As a result, there will be more friction when operating, causing wear out to both cylinder and the rings. 

Types of Honing Tool

You will come across two specific types of cylinder hones. Each provides a different abrasion outcome required for the cylinder to retain oil.


The spring-loaded arms contain slender grinding stones that work excellently to cut more materials. That will pronounce the peaks and valleys much needed for retaining more lubrication.

You can determine the depth of the crosshatch patterns by choosing the stone grain size. The lower you utilize the stone grain, the rougher the texture will become.

It is crucial to maintain the speed when stroking back and forth on the surface of the bore. Always be careful not to alter the stroke direction or exit the cylinder in the middle of honing.

A hand drill is an ideal tool to chuck the rigid hones to operate at a moderate rpm.

Rigid honing is recommended when you wish to correct the geometry, remove heavy-duty material, resize the cylinder, or hone it initially. 

Cylinder Repair Before and After Cylinders | Effects of Cylinder Honing


On the contrary, flexible or flex honing tool are more common to use. They are also known as the ball hones.

Although the cylinder type will determine which hone to work with, most rebuild engine experts seek out flex hones for removing as few materials as possible.

Each metal bristle contains balls with hundreds of cutting points due to the metallic texture. It allows a uniform finish to the surface while maintaining the crosshatch quality.

In short, you use it for soft cutting the materials without altering the cylinder bore size. Once you connect it to the hand drill, the bristles spin in 360-degree, allowing all the cutting points to create a fine crosshatch pattern.

Remember to use low rpm to ensure consistent pressure; also, keep up the perpendicular steadiness of back and forth.

How Much Can You Hone a Cylinder? 

Both hones create the crosshatch pattern. However, the stroke speed and rpm will determine whether the abrasion will cut out less or more materials.

Keep in mind that honing creates the pattern after a certain amount of abrasion is made. Therefore, you have to avoid getting an oversized bore. Or else there will be a significant gap between the ring and the bore.

You should not hone the cylinders by yourself if it needs proper shape-changing. On the other hand, if you wish to achieve the crosshatch pattern once more, honing about 0.003” should be your ideal bet.

The rpm and speed at which you stroke will regulate how much metal you are ripping out, so pay close attention to the work. Make sure the dimension remains true to its original state based on the piston rings proportions.

Final Words 

The common mistake is applying rigid honing to the cylinders that require no change in the bore. If you can view the microscopic patterns in close proximity, you should opt for flex honing instead.

So, to answer your question of how much can you hone a cylinder, every engine has got a different story.

The response will vary on cylinder bore condition, whether it is new or old, how worn it is, the ring size, etc., for the appropriate finish.


I am Samantha, an automobile engineer and POD business owner. I am also a wife of Jason and a mother of three children, two of whom are twins. I am passionate about making a difference in the world and strive to be a role model for my children. I believe that hard work and dedication can lead to success, no matter what your circumstances may be. I have a passion for cars and enjoy working on them in my spare time. I am excited to be able to share my knowledge and experience with you. Stay connected !

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments