Turbo engines put a lot of pressure on intercoolers, which is one reason you shouldn’t be surprised when they fail.
For a long time, the most common reason an intercooler would fail is because of external damage, thanks to a stone or hard particles your vehicle picked up while driving, but that is no longer the case. Cars have become more efficient, and the pressure placed on these devices has too.
Some intercooler problems don’t happen anymore although leaking intercoolers still occurs, it doesn’t always happen because a rock damaged it. Now, it happens because the system was just under too much pressure. There isn’t much you can do about that; this is just the way engines are now built, which is one reason owners must pay attention to their intercoolers.
The other issue some intercoolers develop clogs. Sometimes, debris gets into the device, but sometimes, oil gets in there, which could be a sign of another problem, so be sure to have the entire vehicle inspected if this is the case.
Sometimes, clogs happen simply because turbo installation was done by a sloppy mechanic. This type of installation must be done by a specialist and someone who has been doing this effectively for years to reduce the chances of residue or particles being left behind that could clog the intercooler later on. It should be pointed out that too much pressure and non-vigilance could lead to a blown tank due to the pressure of your intercooler, so having it checked is vital.
Spotting the Issue
One of the most common symptoms this issue might be happening is a sudden drop in engine power. Try as you might, you simply won’t be able to get the same amount of power from your vehicle as you once did. You need to have your vehicle inspected if this happens.
Another sign is an increase in fuel consumption. Just try to pay attention to how many miles per gallon you normally get, and if you start seeing that you are using more than usual, then it might be time to get it checked.
You might start seeing an unnatural amount of smoke coming from the exhaust system. The fuel and air mixture may be wrong because the system is not getting the right commands any longer, which will affect the combustion process. Definitely have your vehicle checked if you notice this.
Hopefully, these points help you understand your intercooler and how you can spot a potential problem with it.