Cooling

When is it time to change your Oil Cooler?

Oil cooling systems in vehicles play a vital role in its ability to operate efficiently and run smoothly on the road. A vehicle’s oil cooling system is akin to a tiny radiator and is made up of various parts that cool the oil as it passes through. A vehicle’s engine goes through extreme heat during the process of internal combustion within the engine. Oil is needed to pass through to lubricate, cleanse and cool the engine. As the oil circulates, heat is absorbed from the system and released externally. Oil coolers do what they are named after—they cool the oil that passes through.

What is an oil cooler for cars?

Now imagine a radiator that cools. That’s what an oil cooler does for a vehicle. On oil cooler for cars lets the engine cooling system expel any excess heat from the oil. Oil is fed to the oil coolers from an adapter. This adapter is usually between the engine block and the oil filter. When oil flows through the tubes of the cooler, the coolant simultaneously flows around the tubes as well. The absorbed heat transfers to the air as it passes through the radiator.

How does an oil cooler benefit cars?

And as the oil is continuously cooled, its quality is maintained. The components in oil that clean and lubricates start to break down after some use so an oil change every few thousand miles is recommended. However, oil coolers lower the temperature by a significant amount (up to 30%), thus increasing the oil’s lifespan.
Another benefit of an oil cooler is that it can extend an engine’s lifespan by keeping the oil that cycles through it cool. Dropping the internal operating temperature not only pushes the oil’s expiration but also the ability of the engine to operate smoothly. Larger vehicles like motor homes and trucks usually require an oil cooler for their engines. Heavier loads add more strain on the engine as it runs or starts. As internal temperatures rise, oil cooling systems help reduce heat and maintain overall engine quality.

What is an intercooler?

You may call it a heat exchanger because it cools air that is compressed by the turbo or supercharger. You’ll normally find an intercooler mounted along the path of air that flows from the turbo or supercharger to the motor.

But then why would any vehicle need an intercooler?

Well, intercoolers are usually common in vehicles with turbocharged or supercharged engines. Specifically, the intercooler is responsible for reducing the temperature of the compressed air while increasing the density of the same air supplied to the engine.
Because compressed air, especially one compressed by a turbo or supercharger, can reach very high temperatures in a small amount of time, the air density which is synonymous to oxygen content also drops. Once the intercooler cools the air, it is able to supply to the engine air that is not only denser but also more rich in oxygen. By providing oxygen-rich air to the engine, combustion is improved and the fuel is better burned. And because the temperature of the air taken in by the engine is consistent, the air-fuel ratio within the engine remains at a level that is safe, thus increasing engine reliability.

How does an intercooler work?

A turbo or supercharger compresses air, thus increasing its density before it is squeezed into the cylinders of the engine. Cylinders with more compressed air allow the engine to burn the fuel more proportionally, providing more power in every combustion.

Because compressing the air creates a lot of heat, the temperature rises. And as the air gets hotter, it also becomes less dense. And the less dense the air becomes, the less oxygen it will carry and provide each cylinder. This lack of oxygen has a noticeable impact on the vehicle’s performance.

To counteract this heating, the intercooler cools the compressed air to provide more oxygen to the cylinders, allowing better combustion. And as aforementioned, regulating air temperature also maintains a safe level of air to fuel ratio within the engine, thus increasing the latter’s reliability.

What are the different types of intercoolers?

While the main function of an intercooler is to cool compressed air before entering the cylinders for combustion, there is a variety and each works differently.

Air-to-Air

An air-to-air intercooler works by pushing compressed air through a matrix of tubing and cooling fins. The compressed air’s heat is transferred into the cooling fins. The latter is cooled by the external flow of air from the moving vehicle. Once the compressed air is cooled and has passed through the intercooler, it then moves towards the intake manifold of the engine and then into the cylinders.

Air-to-air intercoolers are simple, lightweight and cost-efficient. It’s because of these qualities that many owners who have vehicles with a turbo or supercharged engines choose this type of intercooler.

Air-to-Water

In this type of set-up, the intercooler utilizes water to cool compressed air. This works by water being pumped through the intercooler where the former absorbs heat from the compressed air as it flows through the component. As the water passes through, its temperature rises and is then pumped through a cooling unit or a radiator. It then enters the intercooler once again once it’s been cooled.

This type of unit is usually smaller than its air-to-air counterpart. Owners of vehicles that have a more compact engine space normally prefer this type of intercooler. Also, water is a better heat conductor than air and can take in a more varied range of temperatures. However, there is a downside to air-to-water intercoolers. They happen to be more complicated, more costly and heavier, so not many turbo or supercharged engines feature this type of unit.

For all your intercooler needs, Prospeed Parts offers high-quality units that are compatible with the most turbo or supercharged engines, so you don’t need to worry about the performance and the reliability of your engine.

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