Intercooler Cleaning Tips

In this article, Turborevs features some of the best intercooler cleaning tips.

Being delicate devices, intercoolers can quickly lose their efficiency in case the pipe network gets blocked or the external tubes get covered with dirt and grime. An ill-maintained intercooler can result in a number of drawbacks for your car, most notably a decrease in horsepower and overall engine performance. 

A professional at the garage can easily clear up the mess for you, but why wait for a trip to the mechanic with an added cost of several pounds when you can simply clean your intercooler yourself. In this article, Turborevs features some of the best intercooler cleaning tips.

Signs of an Unclean Intercooler

Its common for most people to forget about their car’s maintenance, especially parts that are located around the engine bay area. Fortunately, car’s tend to give off a few tell-signs that indicate a need for a cleanup. For intercoolers, your vehicle will experience a drastic change in performance and overall driving experience. 

One of the most obvious symptom of an ill-maintained intercooler is your engine overheating. As the engine overheats, you will likely experience a decrease in horsepower and performance, a clear sign that your intercooler is not working effectively.

A noticeable increase in fuel consumption is also a by-product of an inefficient intercooler. If the intercooler has a leak inside, you might even see black smoke coming out of the exhaust system. In case of an internal leak, getting your intercooler checked by a professional is a must.

Intercooler Cleaning Tips

Since cleaning the insides of your intercooler is a complex process, we recommend only cleaning the external area of the intercooler yourself. However, you will still need to take off the intercooler from the car to clean it. Follow the steps listed below to properly clean your intercooler.

Step 1: Front Bumper Removal – Park your car firmly and raise it with a jack. Then remove the front bumper. As the bumper is fastened with a few bolts, you will have to remove those first.

Step 2: Pull the intercooler piping off the intercooler – Carefully remove the piping off the intercooler to remove it completely. Oil will drip out from the pipes, so keep an oil pan prepared underneath. 

Step 3: Remove the Intercooler – Pull the intercooler from the mounted position with a firm force and place it in a bucket.

Step 4: Degrease it – Use a degreasing spray and pour it all over the intercooler. Most of the dirt should come off with just a degreaser spray.

Step 5: Dip the intercooler in Kerosene – a kerosene bath will thoroughly clean the intercooler inside out. Keep the intercooler in the bath for at least 15 minutes. The let it dry for about 3-5 hours.

Step 6: Reattach the intercooler – Once completely dry, carefully mount the intercooler back to its original place. Connect all the pipes back together and reattach the bumper.


Maintenance for any car part is crucial, and this is especially true for delicate parts such as intercoolers. A ill-maintained intercooler does not only sustain damage itself but is also a threat for your engine’s health. Simply follow the above-mentioned tips and have your intercooler regularly maintained.

Find some of the best intercoolers for BMW F series at Turborevs and take your car’s performance to the next level.

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