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Best Engine Cooling Upgrades (Complete Guide)

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  • 5 min read

Overheating may occur in tuned engines and cars that are driven hard. An overheated engine is prone to failure, gaskets failing, warping and other major issues can arise.

Extra cooling is typically not needed for brief bursts of power.

Engine cooling will be necessary for track days and highly modified vehicles. Minor tuning, such as remapping or intake and exhaust mods, should not need any changes to the cooling system.

If the engine is overheating with only minor or no upgrades, the problem is more likely to be one of the following.

So, before you consider additional cooling measures, check sure your current system is running properly and as you would anticipate given the circumstances.

A standard engine should not overheat under mild load, or even hard load.

Major modifications that result in a significant increase in power may need additional cooling, but simply to cope with the additional heat created while utilising this increased power.

If you aren’t going to use it for an extended length of time, you may not need to change anything.

engine cooling

Methods to Improve Cooling

There are a variety of methods that can help improve cooling, these include the following.

  • Exhaust wrap
  • Heat shielding
  • Heat reflection
  • Vents
  • Oil quality
  • Upgraded radiators
  • Improve air flow
  • Don’t use too much antifreeze
  • Use coolant additives
  • Remove coolant system additives
  • Install an additional water pump
  • Install an oil cooler
  • Install a fan and shroud
  • Radiator sprayer
  • Water / methanol injection

1. Exhaust Wrap

Wrapping the exhaust is unlikely to have a significant impact on internal engine temperatures. However, it helps to retain the heat within the exhaust and reduces engine bay temperatures somewhat.

Titanium and fibreglass wrap is recommended, you can get this on Amazon.

2. Heat Shielding

Shielding the intake and fuel lines from the rest of the engine bay can also reduce intake air and fuel temperatures, reducing overall heat.

You can use any heat shielding, this could be custom shaped aluminium panels or pre-made heat shields for your car.

3. Heat Reflection

You can also wrap the fuel lines and intake piping in heat reflective tape, this will further reduce the likelihood of overheating.

Gold heat reflective tape is typically recommended, this is sold in many places, including on Amazon.

4. Vents

Adding bonnet vents and other vents can help engine bay heat escape, it may also improve air flow over the radiators and other heat exchangers, further reducing temperature and improving heat capacity.

5. Oil Quality

The kind of oil you use may make a tremendous impact. You’ll notice a difference in engine oil temps if you compare the cheapest low-grade brand with the highest-quality synthetic of the same grade.

6. Upgraded Radiator / Coolers

Replace the old radiator and intercooler with a more efficient one. Multiple core and thicker radiators and intercoolers are viable upgrade options.

They typically allow for more coolant to be in the system, improving heat capacity while also removing much more heat from the coolant than standard radiators.

Upgraded intercoolers reduce air intake temperature substantially, reducing overall engine temperature.

7. Improve Air Flow

Opening up the grill and bumper will improve air flow over the radiator and other heat exchangers, improving the cooling system.

You can do this by drilling holes into the bumper or grill or by replacing the grill or bumper with a more freely flowing version.

8. Avoid Using Too Much Glycol Antifreeze

Straight water transmits heat 140% better than glycol and 60% better than a 50/50 combination.

However, be sure to add in additives such as corrosion inhibitors and if it is cold, add antifreeze.

9. Use Coolant Additives

There are other chemicals that dramatically increase water’s heat transfer capabilities, which may be useful. An example of this is a wetting agent, such as water wetter.

This can improve the heat transfer ability of the coolant.

10. Remove Restrictions in the Coolant System

Make sure radiator hoses aren’t kinked or collapsing while hot, since this can obstruct coolant flow. It’s preferable to do this while the engine is running.

11. Install an Additional Electric Pump

Additionally, an electric water pump may boost the flow velocity of coolant around the engine, resulting in improved performance.

12. Install an Oil Cooler

If you’re overheating, an oil cooler is also a good idea. All of the oil is cycled via a radiator, which helps to cool the engine by lowering oil temperatures.

Because the oil cooler will operate as a storage tank for the oil, you’ll need to fill up with a little extra oil now.

13. Install a Fan & Shroud

Install an electric fan if it isn’t already there, and if it is, seek for one with a larger flow rate (fit this on the engine side of the radiator so it pulls cold air through the radiator).

Fit a shroud around the fan to assist draw air directly into the radiator for a good job.

Because the fan draws all of the air through the radiator rather than just the air in front of the blades, it enhances efficiency and cooling.

Adding a lower temperature sensor to your fan circuit forces the fan to turn on sooner, reducing heat buildup.

14. Radiator Sprayer

Spraying nitrous, water or anything similar on the radiator can substantially cool it, this may be useful before power runs or when the engine needs to cool down.

15. Water / Methanol Injection

Adding a water or methanol injection system to your vehicles intake system can reduce air intake temperature substantially, it’ll also prevent knock and has a host of other benefits.

  • Andy Lewin

    Andy Lewin is a senior mechanic, ASE qualified master technician, and an experienced automotive engineer.He's passionate about serving the automotive community with the highest-quality and trustworthy information on all things automotive. He loves to write about car repairs, maintenance, car modifications and tuning, faults, and much more.

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