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Do all cars have an intercooler?
No, not all of them. Intercoolers are installed on most modern turbocharged cars and are used to cool the charged air, allowing increased engine power and fuel efficiency. In cars with naturally aspirated engines this component is absent.
What happens if the intercooler fails?
When the intercooler fails, the engine power abruptly drops off, as due to insufficient cooling the oxygen concentration in the incoming air is reduced and isn’t sufficient for complete combustion of the air-fuel mixture in the cylinders. If too much oil accumulates in the intercooler, it can enter the engine cylinders with the air. Because of this, the mixture does not have time to burn completely, which leads to burnout of the valves and exhaust manifold. Insufficient cooling may cause the turbocharger to overheat.
How can I clean the intercooler on my car, and what products should I use?
First, remove the intercooler and clean it of stones, insects, small objects and dirt using a soft brush. After that, its surface should be washed. To do this, you can use engine cleaners, for example, K2 AKRA or Liqui Moly Engine Compartment Cleaner. Never use a pressure washer as this could damage the fins. To clean the unit from the inside, car care products such as degreasers or carburettor cleaners are often used. Just be sure to check that they don’t contain flammable substances.