What is the function of the intercooler in a car, how it works, and how to treat it!

Intercooler Function – After we previously provided information about the function of a turbocharger engine in a four-wheeled diesel engine, the information that we will provide further in this discussion is to discuss other components, namely, the intercooler .

In general, the turbo intercooler is known as a car component whose function is to cool the air released by the turbo engine. The air at the turbo inlet is maximally cooled in the form of a radiator which is equipped with a cooling grid. Therefore, this component is usually placed on the front of the car which is exposed to the wind directly from the front.

An intercooler is a tool or component that is similar to a car radiator but has a different function. If the radiator must cool the water, the inter-radiator itself is responsible for cooling the air produced by the turbo engine before entering the combustion chamber.

For those of you, especially Sinaumed’s friends, who want to know more about the meaning of an intercooler and want to know its functions and how it works on a machine, in this discussion we have summarized information related to the intercooler here.

Furthermore, we have summarized the discussion and can be listened to below!

What is an Intercooler?

An intercooler is a mechanical device used to cool fluids, including liquids and gases, between stages of a multi-phase heating process, usually a heat exchanger that removes waste heat in a gas compressor. Used in a wide range of applications including air compressors, air conditioners, refrigerators, gas turbines, passenger car engines, trucks, buses, etc.

Widely recognized in the automotive world as an air-to-air or air-to-liquid (turbocharger or supercharger) induced intercooler in internal combustion engines to increase their volumetric efficiency by increasing the charge density of the incoming air to close to isobaric cooling density.

The intercooler increases the efficiency of the intake system by reducing the intake heat generated by the supercharger or turbocharger and promotes more thorough combustion. This removes the heat of compression (i.e. increase in temperature) that occurs when increasing pressure or increasing unit mass (density) in any gas.

Turbochargers and superchargers are designed to push more air mass into the intake manifold and engine combustion chamber. Intercooling is a method used to compensate for heating due to compression, which is a natural by-product of the semi-adiabatic compression process. An increase in barometric pressure can cause the intake port to overheat, which greatly reduces compression efficiency due to reduced density. An increase in intake temperature can also increase the temperature of the combustion cylinders, causing explosions or thermal damage to the engine block.

Turbocharger (turbo) is an additional component that increases engine power without increasing the engine cylinder capacity (cc). The turbo uses the torque generated by the exhaust gases to add air into the cylinder.

There, when the turbo kicks in, the air pressure rises, and so does the temperature. This heating of the intake air is bad for the engine. First, raise the temperature of the combustion chamber. Second, heat causes the air to expand, so that the density of air decreases. Coolant is needed here as a counterweight. The intercooler is a heat exchanger, like a radiator, but not for cooling the engine coolant, but for cooling the air that passes through it. Lowering the intake temperature has two advantages: a lower combustion chamber temperature and a higher air density, which allows more air to enter the cylinder.

Intercooler function

The Turbo Intercooler is actually placed in front of the engine, not just for display or to make it look cool, but actually has quite an important function.

As is known, the air drawn in and pushed out by the turbo turbine produces a higher air temperature.

The intercooler plays an important role in boosting the turbo system’s combustion process, which increases engine power. The turbo-intercooler’s job is to reduce the temperature of hot air before it reaches the engine’s combustion chamber. Intercoolers usually have aluminum material where this material can conduct heat faster than ordinary iron.

In colder weather, it definitely has a positive effect on the engine. The more air molecules that enter the engine, the better the car’s performance. One of the Hyundai cars, NEW SANTA FE, is equipped with variable geometry turbo (VGT) technology. In VGT, the turbine has a shape that can change depending on the amount of air passing through it. In this way, turbo lag is reduced and turbo power is also maintained.

Thanks to these components, you can feel wild engine power, but still optimal in turbocharged cars. With combined intercooler Intercooler cools the air leaving the turbo to operate. The intercooler cools the hot air coming from the turbo so that cooler air can enter the engine room.

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Without the air intercooler it gets hot so it’s not perfect, performance doesn’t increase much either. This intercooler works according to the principles of thermodynamics. Convection and induction occur inside the intercooler, transferring heat from the movement of the fluid. The intercooler structure itself consists of tubes with fins between them for cooling.

How Do Intercoolers Work?

The intercooler works as a function that cools the air released by the car’s turbo. The air released by the hot turbo is cooled by this radiator so that the air entering the engine room is cooled by passing through this radiator. This way of working itself works by applying the principles of thermodynamics. Convection and induction exist in heat transfer caused by a moving fluid. The shape of the radiator itself is made of tubes and has fins to cool the car faster.

Like a car radiator, the location of the intercooler is in front of and under the car. The cooling arrangement in this section is designed so that the cabin air is cooled by air when the car is moving. Not all or all repair shops can service this radiator for this intercooler service.

Turbo intercoolers work by compressing and increasing the density of air before it reaches the engine cylinders. By pushing more air into each cylinder, the engine can burn proportionately more fuel.

This compression process generates heat and increases the temperature of the air entering the engine. Unfortunately, as the air heats up, its density also changes, reducing the amount of oxygen available to each cylinder and affecting performance. The intercooler prevents this process by cooling the air so that the engine gets more oxygen.

According to the operation of the diesel engine, the turbo-intercooler also follows the principle of thermodynamics. Convection and induction occur inside the intercooler, transferring heat from the movement of the fluid. The intercooler structure itself consists of tubes with fins between them for cooling. The position of the intercooler is in front of the base, like the radiator. The intercooler is cooled by air while the vehicle is running.

Because the role of the turbo intercooler is very important in the car, it is very important for you to carry out routine maintenance yourself at home. All you need to do is check the connecting pipe between the turbo pipe and the intercooler. Because high air pressure can cause leaks at the intercooler joints.

Actually, the operation of the intercooler is very simple, namely to cool the compressed air produced by the turbo engine, which is initially hot (high) and then directs it to the intercooler network. In addition, the air flowing inside the grill is cooled by the wind passing through the intercooler grill.

So that the initially hot air becomes cold, causing the cooled air particles to condense, so that when the air is fed into the combustion chamber, the resulting compression is much greater than the air from a turbo engine which is not cooled by an intercooler.

High engine compression increases the power produced, so fuel economy also increases and car engines produce less polluting gases, because high compression makes the combustion process more complete, namely. no fuel left. burning because the oxygen needs of the engine combustion process are met.

Intercooler Location

The location of the intercooler in the car must be in a place where free air can easily pass and usually in two different places. First, the intercooler is placed behind the front bumper of the vehicle, parallel to the grille or air conditioner. capacitors, radiator grille and right in front of the intercooler grille.

The second place is located directly behind the hood or above the car engine, for example in the Toyota Fortuner or Toyota Hilux Double cab. In these two positions, the top of the machine is easier to clean.

Maintenance of this intercooler is quite simple because you only need to clean the intercooler grid from any adhering dirt such as dust, leaves or plastic debris that may be attached to maximize performance.

How to Clean the Intercooler

There are several reasons why a turbo intercooler needs to be cleaned. Over time, the vehicle’s mileage also increases, passing through various types of dirt that is dusty, highly polluted, and others.

Extreme weather and climate conditions also affect the condition and performance of this turbo intercooler. Turbo intercoolers on vehicles that are not good can affect engine performance because they can get clogged with dirt which then causes the engine to heat up quickly. The combustion system becomes imperfect. Fuel consumption is not proportional to the power generated.

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If this continues, the spare parts for portable engine parts will wear out, or we as the vehicle owner will bear the cost of repairing the machine, as well as damage to the truck, of course, this will affect your income, which will decrease.

One way to fix this is to clean the turbo intercooler. But the problem is that many of us don’t know how to deal with a dirty turbo intercooler. Usually you take the car to a repair shop, which of course costs money.

To clean the intercooler, you don’t need to use strange steps, you just need to use the wind pressure that is put into the intercooler so that all dirt and dust can be cleaned. What’s more important is that you have to pay attention to when it’s time to carry out periodic servicing of your four-wheeled vehicle so that it is maintained and the engine performance is maintained.

Another way to clean the intercooler is to remove the intercooler in its place, especially if there are other problems with the turbo engine. This intercooler can be placed in the highest place (above the engine) or behind the front bumper. Actually, anywhere where the position of the intercooler will not affect the performance of the car’s engine, only when it is installed on the front bumper, it will get dirty faster because it is exposed to road dirt and flying dust. If this happens and the intercooler becomes dirty, it will interfere with engine performance and the engine will not work optimally.

How to clean the intercooler that is installed on the front of the front bumper will be more difficult because it requires extra effort. But it can be overcome by using wind pressure and using soap to make it cleaner. If you see rocks or insects getting into the interior of the intercooler, you can fix this by manually picking it up using a puncture or anything that can reach where the dirt is.

If it still can’t be cleaned manually the only way is to remove the front bumper and clean the intercooler afterwards. However, this method will take a long time and be inconvenient, so you need to take it to a repair shop to ask for help from a more professional person.

How to clean the intercooler that is mounted above the engine hood will usually be easier because its position is easier to reach. The only thing that needs to be done is to clean the intercooler cover only and then clean it with the help of a damp cloth. And, don’t forget to also clean the scoop part which becomes the water cavity or can be cleaned by removing the engine cover by opening the clip holder.

In this method, you don’t need water to clean the intercooler, you only need enough wind pressure to clean the remaining dirt, rocks, dust, and other debris that is in your car’s engine intercooler. And, it should be noted that do not use high water pressure so that the wing intercooler is not damaged.

Another Way to Clean the Intercooler Using Cleaning Liquid

  • Place the suction tube in the cleaning bottle.
  • Place the insert button
  • Choose the appropriate tube size so that we can reach the gaps or parts around the turbo intercooler for maximum reach.
  • When the cleaning liquid has run out, let stand for half an hour then wash.

After cleaning the turbo intercooler, heat circulation inside the vehicle becomes optimal and the engine operating temperature is normal, thereby saving time and effort. This is one way to thoroughly clean the turbo intercooler using a special cleaning fluid. Using such liquids saves time and effort in cleaning and can reach those hard to reach places.


That’s all for a brief discussion of what an intercooler is, its functions, benefits, and how it works. Not only knowing what an intercooler is, but also discussing functions, benefits, how it works and how to properly maintain it so that the engine is maintained.

Knowing what an intercooler is for automotive enthusiasts is very useful to find out how the intercooler works on their four-wheeled vehicles, whether it is necessary to install it and benefit from installing the intercooler. Installing an intercooler in your car’s engine has a positive impact so that your car’s engine does not heat up quickly and can work optimally.