In internal combustion engines it is important to manage the wear in the valve and valve seat contact in order to minimise emissions and maximise economy. Traditionally wear in this contact has been controlled by the use of a valve seat insert and the careful selection of materials for both the valve and the insert. More recently, due to the increasing demands for both performance and cost, alternative methods of controlling the wear, and the resulting valve recession, have been sought. Using the heating effect of a laser to induce localised phase transformations, to increase hardness and wear resistance, in materials has been used since the 1970s, however it is only in recent years that it has been able to compete with more established surface treatment techniques, particularly in terms of cost, as new laser hardware has been developed. In this work, a laser has been used to treat the valve seat area of a cast iron cylinder head. In order to optimise the laser parameters for use on the head, preliminary tests were carried out to investigate the fundamental wear characteristics of untreated cast iron and also cast iron with a range of laser treatments. Previous work has identified the predominant wear mechanism in the valve and valve seat contact as impact on valve closure. Two bespoke test machines, one for testing basic specimens and one for testing components, were used to identify the laser parameters most likely to yield acceptable results when applied to a cylinder head to be used in a fired dynamometer test.