Best ways to cool a car engine, additives to mods

Tuners tips on "Heat Management in a Tuned Engine"

Heat Management in a Tuned Engine Guide

Keeping your cool is important in a performance engine

Engines do not appreciate overheating, and this is true whether they are factory-installed or modified. Despite the fact that everyone is aware of this, we continue to hear reports of finely tuned engines failing due to overheating and other catastrophic issues.

To get to the bottom of this issue, we'll get into the details here. This problem and its solutions will be discussed in more detail later on after we give an overview of the problem.

Why does heat build up become a problem?

If you've tuned your engine, we highly suggest that you install an oil temperature gauge, which provides a more accurate representation of engine temperatures than the more usual water temperature readings.

You'll be better prepared to respond quickly if you see the vehicle starting to overheat and allowing it to cool down before any engine damage happens if you have a sense of what is considered "normal range."

Tuned engines are more likely to overheat. What's the reason behind this?

More power is produced by a tuned engine than by a factory-fitted engine. As a result, these engines burn fuel more efficiently.

Spark plugs light a combination of air and fuel to produce combustion, which in turn generates energy. When more power is needed, the combination of air and fuel is burnt at a higher temperature and in a bigger volume.

Tuned engines create a lot more heat than stock ones, since combustion produces heat.

As a general rule, you're increasing the pace and size of each explosion in each cylinder, which leads to an increase in heat output.

Issues that cause overheating

Overheating may be caused by a number of different issues.

No matter how much power an engine generates, it should not overheat if it is properly cooled.

This indicates that if an engine is overheating, there is a problem that has to be fixed immediately.

If the problem isn't fixed right away, it might lead to a slew of other issues that would demand expensive repairs.

These issues include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Inadequate Heating and Ventilation.
  2. a snag or obstruction in the refrigeration system
  3. Engine malfunctions
  4. Poorly ventilated engine bay

Given that a tuned engine generates much more heat than a stock one does, we must figure out how to deal with and reduce this issue.

This necessitates the deployment of a powerful cooling system. They are intended to work with a vehicle's factory-installed engine and power output.

A lack of cooling may lead to overheating in an automobile that has been adjusted.

Almost all automotive tuning specialists recommend that a tuned engine be paired with a properly functioning cooling system.

Upgrades to the cooling system are commonly overlooked by novices who attempt them as do-it-yourself projects. These people end up paying the price.

  1. Affecting the Cooling System
  2. Faulty Catalytic Converter, Clogged Exhaust
  3. Engine Stopped Due to Blown Head Gasket
  4. Affecting the Cooling System

The vehicle's ability to cool down adequately is additionally hampered by a damaged radiator. Overheating may be caused by a variety of issues, including this one.

Priority should be given to having a faulty radiator system repaired or replaced with a new one.

There are a number of problems with the radiator, but the most prevalent one is corrosion of the radiator's fins.

For this reason, since it circulates cold water to keep the engine temperature low, a radiator is an essential component of a vehicle's cooling system.

Blocked Emissions or Restricted exhaust flow

A blocked exhaust pipe is another possible source of engine temperature issues. As a consequence, the heated gases within the car will be unable to escape.

Overheating, which is bad for the engine, results from this backfiring of such gases.

Catalytic Converter Problem

A defective catalytic converter may also cause a tuned engine to overheat.

There will be a spike in temperature due to the restriction of exhaust gas flow via a catalytic converter like this one.

The Head Gasket Has Blown.

The combustion chamber is sealed by the head gasket. In addition, it helps to restrict the coolant from entering the combustion chamber.

Coolant loss from a burst head gasket will raise the temperature of a well tuned engine.

Why Do Tuned Engines Require Heat Management?

Heat management is critical to an engine's performance as well as its lifespan, just as it is with stock engines.

It's possible to take a few actions to alleviate this problem.

Radiator Improvements

An Improved Radiator Arrangement, better flow and greater heat dissipation.

An engine that has been fine-tuned will create greater power as a result of the increased combustion rate. Because of this, the factory-installed radiator is not suitable.

It's because of this that you'll find yourself in desperate need of an updated radiator. So, if you want your car to run smoothly, you should consider upgrading the radiator.

Radiators that have been updated by various manufacturers are available, however most of them are model-specific. With that in mind, there is always the option of going with a universal radiator, which may not be as effective but is far less expensive.

Oil Cooler helps keep the engine cooler

Overheated engine oil may occur even if you have a properly functioning cooling system installed in your car.

Overheating of engine oil is more likely with a tuned engine, and because engine oil is such a crucial fluid in a car, it must be kept cold at all times.

Because a tuned vehicle's turbocharger or supercharger raises oil temperature even more, having an oil cooler becomes even more necessary in hotter regions of the engine.

Because of this, an air cooler is considered as a crucial component. In order to keep the engine oil at a more manageable temperature, an oil cooler is used.

Squirting hot oil may harm engine components and play a crucial role in heating the vehicle.

In order to effectively combat your vehicle's overheating problem with a tuned engine, a properly functioning oil cooler is a need.

To put it another way, an oil cooler is like an engine oil radiator. Thin, air-cooled tubes allow oil to flow through the system. This reduces the temperature of the engine's oil.

The Water Pump Has Been Upgraded

A well tuned engine needs a good water pump to keep it cool. This is because the water pump's primary function is to keep the engine cool by circulating the coolant.

For the stock radiator, a normal water pump is fitted in the car. It follows therefore that a new water pump will be required when the radiator has been updated on your tuned car.

It's a little device, but it's also expensive, costing upwards of $300. However, since it may greatly minimise overheating in your tuned engine, we suggest opting with the improved component.

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An engine pulley-driven mechanical water pump works best while the engine is cold, but when the engine is warm, you want the water pump to operate at a higher speed. This is not possible with an engine pulley-driven mechanical water pump.

Electric water pump

A well-tuned engine's heat may be effectively dissipated with the help of an electric water pump. This is due to the fact that centrifugal force is used to pressurise liquids before they are circulated by such a pump.

It is possible to keep a car cool even if it has a tuned engine thanks to the use of these coolant fluids.

We cannot overstate the significance of an electric water pump in the cooling system of a car.

Depending on the temperature, it may be configured to raise or decrease the flow rate, enabling the automobile to warm up more rapidly and withstand longer periods of intense power output.

Coolant additives

Water can protect your vehicle from overheating, but if you want to get the most out of it, you'll need coolant.

That’s because the hot engine can boil water at its low boiling point of 100°C. At 8psi, a coolant may raise water boiling point to 120°C, which is why coolants are used in cars to regulate engine temperatures.

Be aware that water is caustic within an engine and freezes, expanding and cracking the engine block, thus coolant additives are critical.

With a hot engine, water may readily exceed its boiling point of 100°C, thus coolant additives are needed to handle this. As a result, coolants are utilised in automobiles to regulate engine temperature.

Different coolant additives are available for use in automobiles to keep their engines from overheating.

Additives are needed for various types of radiators and engine blocks.

As a consequence, one engine type may benefit greatly from a certain additive, whereas another may not. The majority of store-bought mixes are engine-compatible, but it's always best to check the label first. When it comes to performance engines, you may have to concentrate on certain additives in order to reap the advantages.

Water (H2O)

Be advised that in certain hard water locations, the water can cause scale buildup and corrosion of the engine.

Our recommendation is to buy water that has been softened, rather than tap water.

An electron is lacking from distilled water, and this might lead to accelerated corrosion in the engine's internal components. If you don't have access to softened water, filtered water might still be useful.

Hydrocarbons of the Ethylene glycol type

Most coolants have an antifreeze main component, which raises the boiling point of water but reduces its heat transmission capacity significantly.

Ethylene glycol and water are often used as a 50/50 mixture for most purposes, however the coolant may additionally include the following additions.

The following are examples of coolant additives. The downsides of certain additives may be addressed by adding other components to coolants, therefore keep this in mind while using coolants.


Silicate, despite its inability to be used with polymers, provides corrosion protection. Make sure to use Silicate with caution, since it has been known to deteriorate several gasket and seal materials.


Phosphate, like silicate, is a corrosion-fighting agent that is often used in coolants. Scale buildup may be worsened by hard water locations, though.


As a result of this, the coolant may now be used at higher temperatures since its boiling point has been raised. In addition, it decreases the freezing point of the coolant and prevents corrosion at high temperatures. Corrosion is a common cause of failure in older engines.


Iron is protected from corrosion by nitrite coating, which also minimises cavitation (tiny bubbles). This is not a good combination for Aluminium unless other additions are used.

Sodium Benzoate

Sodium Benzoate is especially advantageous for Hybrid engines which tend to be smaller and work with the Atikinson Cycle, but for considerably shorter durations of operating time. Aluminum alloys and hard water should not be used with this product because of its tendency to react and cause corrosion. It will extend the life of the coolant and is excellent at protecting steel liners or iron engine blocks from corrosion.

Thermal Insulation for the Exhaust (Wraps & Ceramic)

Use exhaust thermal wrapping to keep your tuned engine cool.

That being said, it is still a very helpful procedure that helps to maintain the heat in the exhaust, even if it is not required.

As a result, less heat is transferred to other engine components, which is critical in preventing overheating in finely tuned engines.

Because the turbo usually generates a lot of heat, it makes logical to encase it here so that the heat may pass through the exhaust pipe more easily.

Thermal wrapping of the exhaust also improves the exhaust's aesthetic appeal.

Choose an exhaust thermal wrapping that can readily tolerate temperatures of over 1000°C if you want the best results.

Commercially available exhaust coatings include ceramic coatings, which reduce heat transmission and help keep your engine compartment cool.

Cooling in the Engine Bay

If you're running a tuned engine, you may need to cut more vents in the engine compartment or install ductwork to dissipate the hotter air.

The negative pressure generated by a hood vent is useful in sucking warm air out of the vehicle, which naturally rises.

Side vents are also an option, however they are more difficult to install due to the double skin surrounding the sides and the suspension mounting.

Temperatures beneath the hood may be greatly improved by selecting a front bumper with lots of room for air circulation.

Moving from one kind of oil to another

Cooling an engine relies heavily on oil (about 40%), according to some experts.

Aside from that, oil is used to lubricate engines, which helps to decrease wear and tear. This reduces the amount of heat generated by the engine while it is running.

The thickness of the oil varies as it becomes hotter. More heat may be disseminated by using hotter oil, which is less viscous than cooler oil.

It is, nevertheless, possible for the oil to get too thin and not efficiently lubricate the engine.

When shears or peels away from the sections it shields, this exposes the exposed surfaces and increases friction. As a result, there is an important balancing act to be conducted here, and the oil should be selected to meet your driving habits and the needs of your tuned engines.

When it comes to an oil cooler, this implies that a thinner oil will be able to flow through the tubes more rapidly than a thicker oil would. As a result, the oil and the engine will both cool more rapidly.

A good oil viscosity is essential for your engine's performance in cold weather as well as when it is running at its normal operating temperature.

As a result, the above-mentioned considerations must be kept in mind while changing the engine oil grade.

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