We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Intercooler?

By Emma G.
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An intercooler is a device used to cool air that has been compressed in a combustion engine. It is often used in turbocharged or supercharged engines. There are two basic varieties of intercoolers. Air-to-air intercoolers use outside air to transfer heat from the engine, while air-to-water intercoolers use water to do the same job.

When air is heated, it becomes less dense and looses oxygen. In an engine this can cause several problems. The most common problem is a loss of efficiency. Other problems can include wear and heat damage to the engine block and engine knocking caused by air pockets in the air being fed for combustion.

In an engine, an intercooler offsets the excess heat caused by supercharging or turbo charging an engine. When air is cooled, it becomes more dense. This increased density allows more air and fuel to be combusted per engine cycle, which ultimately increases the output power of the engine.

Technically an intercooler is a device used between stages of supercharging or turbo charging to cool the air for use in the next stage. If the device is used at the end of the supercharging cycle, it is called an aftercooler. Despite this distinction, the two names are often used interchangeably.

The size and design depends on the engine in which the intercooler is installed. Many modern automobiles have intercoolers or aftercoolers. They are also found in aircraft and other high-power engines.

An air-to-air intercooler works by passing hot engine air through tubes. This air is cooled by heat transfer, as cooler air passes by outside the tubes. Where the intercooler is mounted on the engine determines the efficiency of the cooling system.

Front-mounted systems are most effective. They sit at the front of the car, where the forward motion of the car can force air through the system. This results in a constant supply of cool air.

Top-mounted systems are slightly less effective. They sit on top of the engine, which allows more heat from the engine to affect the intercooler system, as heat rises. Also, this setup does not provide a built-in source of cool air. Many mechanics get around this problem by installing a hood scoop, a raised opening in the hood that allows air to pass into the engine space.

An air-to-water intercooler works by transferring the heat from engine air into water. Once the water is heated, it travels away from the hot parts of the engine. It then transfers heat into the outside air.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.