Intercooler Vs Radiator – Which Is The Best?

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Main Difference between Intercooler Vs Radiator: The radiator is used to cool down hot water or liquid, which gets heated as it absorbs the engine’s cylinder’s heat. On the other hand, an Intercooler works by pumping cold air into your car through its exhaust system and then reheating that compressed gas in order to reduce emissions from cars.

Intercoolers and radiators both provide forced-air cooling for engines. However, they work in very different ways to achieve this objective – an inter cooler’s primary function is simply maintaining atmosphere integrity while a radiator functions mainly by transferring heat away from inside the car into its surroundings. One is for heating while another one helps increase your car’s efficiency by reducing its emissions. You might not know much about either, but don’t worry because we took care of everything in this article.

Intercooler Vs Radiator In a Table

DefinitionThe radiator is a simple device that works by absorbing heat from the engine cylinder.The intercooler is a device that helps to reduce the temperature of hot compressed air.
ProcessEngine radiators are water to air.Intercoolers are air-to-air or air-to-water.
PerformanceThe radiator is the part of your car that makes it cool by giving off heat from the engine coolant.The intercooler is a device that removes heat from the post-turbo air so it goes into your combustion chamber colder and denser.
ComponentYour radiator is a vital component that helps reduce the temperature of the coolant flowing through your engine. It has no relationship with turbochargers or intercoolers.An intercooler is designed to cool down the air charge compressed through your turbo, which then flows into an engine.
UsesThey are an important part of almost all automobile engines.The engine uses a turbo to make more power, which in turn requires an intercooler and radiator.
InstallWith a radiator, you can enjoy the benefits of an intercooler without having to install it in your engine bay.For fast vehicles that need an intercooler and radiator installed in the engine system
PriceThe radiator price is around $310-$320.Intercooler price is around $320-$330

What is an Intercooler?


The intercooler is a device that cools the hot charging air by taking it through an extra cooling process. This helps to reduce unwanted engine noise and fuel consumption, which makes them perfect for vehicles with high-performance engines.Turbo/supercharger compression leads to hot, high-pressure air that’s dense with oxygen. This means less of it gets into your engine and lower combustion efficiency – but adding an intercooler helps alleviate this problem by providing a cooler intake charge for more efficient processing through the car’s standard Buick Turbo Charge excise system.

Types of Intercooler

  • Air to Air Intercooler

The Air-to-Air intercooler is an innovative design that extracts heat from compressed air by passing it through its network of tubes with cooling fins. As this cools down incoming hot gas, reducing its temperature for more efficient combustion.

  • Air to Water Intercooler

An air-to-water intercooler is a type of heat exchanger that uses water as the transfer medium. In this setup, coolant passes through an enclosed tube where it extracts thermal energy from compressed airflow and then pumps back into another circuit containing radiator fluid for cooling purposes.

What is a Radiator?


In automobiles, radiators transfer thermal energy from one medium to another for the purpose of cooling and heating. A radiator is a device consisting primarily of large amounts of surface area that contain air so it can spread through the water efficiently; they’re mainly used by cars’ engines as well because these types have high operating temperatures–the higher limit without risking damaging components like pistons etc.

Types of Radiator

  • Tubular Type Core

Tubular radiators have a core made up of two sections, an upper and lower tank. The tubes connecting these tanks are surrounded by fins that promote better heat transfer while water passes through them all to provide cooling for your car or truck’s engine bay! But because they’re so specific about how their plumbing works, if one tube becomes clogged up then there will be no more Cooling effect in this passage–you lose everything below where those problems started: 

  • Cellular Type Core

In a cellular-type core, air flows through the tubes and water fills in between them. The cells are hexagonal because they represent sixfold symmetry for this design which provides excellent cooling performance while maintaining high efficiency with minimal wasted space like other types do so that it can be more affordable on funds available at any given moment.

Pros and Cons of Intercooler


  • Simplicity
  • Less weight
  • It has more stability
  • Water is more efficient at heat transfer than air.


  • Longer intake length
  • More variation in temperature

Pros and Cons of Radiator


  • It keeps the engine coil.
  • To help prevent corrosion
  • Absorbing heat from the engine cylinder
  • Reduce the temperature of the cooler


  • Elements can be difficult to clean.


Is a radiator better than an intercooler?

Intercoolers are typically placed in front of radiators to reduce the amount of heat transfer from one component, like your engine. The intercooler works by transferring gasses through an air-to-water medium that is less effective than if it were just a radiator with water-filled tubes running along its length; however, this design does have some benefits so don’t get rid of it altogether.

Can an intercooler be used as a radiator?

The air/water intercoolers are a better option because they don’t require any 4″ piping. The radiator for this type of cooler can be mounted up front in front of the engine’s own radiators, which means there is no need to run additional hoses all over your car.

What happens if the intercooler fails?

The intercooler is a critical component that not only helps to cool the incoming air before it enters your engine but also ensures complete combustion by distributing cooler, denser gas throughout each stroke. If this vital part fails you’re risking power loss and poor fuel economy as well; so replace those old hoses today.

Final Words

This is everything you need to know about the difference between a radiator vs an intercooler. It isn’t complicated at all, and now that we’ve covered this topic in detail for your convenience.

It is imperative that you get the correct information, especially about your vehicles. You don’t want to end up damaging one of your most precious cars due to misunderstood instructions or misinformation would be very hurtful.

You should take advice from professionals who have enough knowledge and expertise in this area. They will help you buy a suitable cooling system for your car engine so that it can stay cool during driving, ensuring safety on all journeys.

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