How Does A Charge Air Cooler Work?

Almost all the turbocharged diesel engines come fitted with a Charge air cooler. Their main function is to reduce the temperature of the charged air before it enters the car's engine. It is an important component, which increases the efficiency of the modern day diesel turbocharged cars.

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The need of air cooler

The exhaust gas produced by a car engine is used in the turbocharger for compressing the fresh air, which, in turn, provides higher pressure providing added energy with higher efficiency. In this process, the temperature of the air increases inside the car. And this air cannot be injected directly into the engine's bay, therefore, a cooler is required to bring down the temperature of the air before it enters the engine.

The cooler improves the density of charge air and its temperature. This process increases the efficiency of the engine performance and adds to its longevity. From the temperature of 200 Celsius, air cooler decreases the temperature to about 40 to 50 degree Celsius. Other benefits of using the cooler are improved burning of fuel inside the engine cylinder, increase in power output and sustained power delivery.

All in the entire cooler reduces the stress on the crucial parts of the engine. This includes piston rings, pistons, cylinder liner and the cylinder head.


Apart from reducing the temperature of the air entering the engine compartment, the cooler also reduces the temperature of exhaust gas. For every 1-degree drop in temperature of the air entering the engine, the exhaust gas temperature reduces to up to 10-degree Celsius. However, if the air is cooler than required and it enters the cylinder liner then it can cause a sudden thermal burst, which can crack the cylinder liner. Hence causing severe damage. However, such cases are rare.

The Location

The air cooler is located between the turbocharger compressor and the engines scavenge manifold or inlet manifold. The position is carefully chosen as the distance might affect the efficient working of the equipment. Also, it should be further apart from the engine in such a way, that the engine heat does not affect it negatively. However, for higher efficiency, the cooler is normally fitted very close to the car's engine. Proper insulation of both the cooler and the engine is important to operate at higher threshold and efficiency.

The cooler has become an important part of the modern day car engines, which run on diesel engines in particular with a turbocharger. The modern-day automobiles require higher standards of quality when it comes to providing better efficiency without compromising on the performance. The cooler plays an important role ensuring that the automobiles fitted with it are reliable and long lasting.

It is simple mechanical equipment, which performs a much complex function. Because of its usefulness, it also adds to the safety of the environment, helping to keep the diesel engines much cleaner when compared to other diesel engines, which do not have the air cooler fitted in them.