Surface topography of cylinder liners influences the functional behaviour of internal combustion engines. The cylinder liners after boring operation are subjected to rough, finish and plateau honing operations in which parameters such as rotary speed, reciprocating speed, pressure and honing time are selected on the basis of operator's experience. The present work is a comprehensive investigation carried out to identify the significant honing parameters and their values for different honing operations. The honing trials are carried out according to design of experiments. Before each operation, all cylinder liners are processed identically under conditions identified from the previous operation. Parameters considered for characterising the surface topography are roughness average (Ra) and all five bearing area parameters (Rpk, Rk, Rvk, Mr1 and Mr2). It is established in the present work that Ra can be replaced effectively by Rk in finish and plateau honing operations to control the final surface topography and these parameters (Ra, Rk) are influenced by honing pressure. For the most important bearing area parameter Mr2, the significant process parameters are medium honing time in finish honing and high reciprocating speed in plateau honing. These results are useful for controlling the honing operations during the manufacture of the cylinder liners. Copyright © 2009, Inderscience Publishers.