How to Clean Top Mount Intercooler

Have you been experiencing high engine temperatures? Higher fuel consumption? You might be wondering whether there is something wrong with your engine. Considering how many parts there are inside your car, there can be a couple of reasons why.

However, if you are to own specifically a turbocharged or supercharged engine vehicle, cleaning your Intercooler might help.

It is very important to clean your intercooler because the accumulation of dirt and grease can cause overheating of your engine and prevent it from operating properly. Cleaning your Intercooler might seem extremely tedious, but it is only a matter of detaching-degreasing-reassembling.

Now, if you have made up your mind about taking a step forward to clean your intercooler, follow the steps in this article, and you will find your intercooler all shiny and clean in no time.

How Do I Detach My Intercooler?

detach the Intercooler from the engine

Now that you are determined to clean your Intercooler, you might be wondering how and where to start. So the starting process is to detach the Intercooler from the engine. Follow the steps below as we show you how to detach the Intercooler.

Step 1: Removing the PCV Hoses

Using the tip of a big screwdriver, pop off the PCV hoses that connect to either side of the intercooler.

Step 2: Removing the Recirculation Valve

Take the two bolts out that connect the recirculation valve to the intercooler. Do not remove the hose; leave all the hoses attached to the valve.

Step 3: Loosening the Hose Clamps from the Throttle Body

Unscrew the two hose clamps that are attached to the hose body with the help of a flat head screwdriver.

Step 4: Disconnecting the Y-Pipe Inlet

The Y-Pipe inlet is located right beneath your intercooler. Get down there and detach the hose clamp from the Y-Pipe that is connected to the Turbo outlet.

Step 5: Detaching the Support Mount Bolts

Last we are about to remove the support mount bolts that are located on either side of the intercooler, one on the driver and another on the passenger side. Using a wrench, detach the mount bolts.

Now that all these are done, the intercooler can be pulled out of its mount and is ready to be cleaned.

How Do I Clean Oil Out of My Intercooler?

Clean Oil Out of Intercooler

Cleaning oil out is the second step in cleaning the Intercooler. After the Intercooler has been removed from its mount, it will contain a lot of oil and debris remaining inside it. We will need to drain it before cleaning it.

Removing the Oil

Before setting down the Intercooler, hold it straight so that one of its ends lies vertically down on an oil pan. Hold steady and be patient. There will be a lot of oil as well as dirt accumulated that will be coming out of it.

Getting rid of it is essential before moving on to the next step.

How Do You Clean Aluminum Intercooler?

It would be safe to know that most intercoolers these days are made of aluminum, and over time your Intercooler may get filled with oil and get covered in debris. This will hinder its mechanism from cooling down the engine. So in order to clean your Intercooler, we will start by degreasing it.

Notes of Precaution

Before we begin this step, it is advised to put on a pair of gloves, goggles, and a facemask. Working with a degreaser can be hazardous without proper safety precautions.

Step 1: Applying Degreaser

Applying Degreaser on Intercooler

Place the Intercooler in a bucket. Then spray the degreaser over the Intercooler, holding 3–4 inches (7.6–10.2 cm) away. Spray thoroughly, and cover both sides. Paying proper time and attention to this step will make sure that the stain-covered debris is cleaned well.

Step 2: Cleaning with Kerosene

Apply kerosene to the interior of the Intercooler

For this step, you would need some kerosene. Apply kerosene to the interior of the Intercooler. Also, keep the Intercooler in the bucket and pour some kerosene over it. Leave it about for a quarter of an hour before emptying.

Kerosene helps to get rid of oil build-up and some remaining debris which can become quite an issue for the engine.

Step 3: Drying the INTERCOOLER


Leave to dry in the sunlight for about 3-5 hours. Then use a hairdryer to ensure that it is fully dry before reattaching.

How to Clean Top Mount Intercooler

If you have been following along for so long, congratulations! You have fifty percent of the job is done already. Cleaning a top mount intercooler is not too different than cleaning any other aluminum intercooler.

The other half that we are about to approach now is going to be very specific. Stick along, and you will find your front mount intercooler all sparkly and shimmery in no time.

Step 1: Removing the Top Mount Intercooler

Removing a top mount intercooler is a relatively easy process. There are four bolts that hold to the engine itself- two on the front and two on the back, which will need to be removed.

Then there are two hose clamps- one on either side of those front inlet ports, and the hoses just pull off. Now, two bolts need to be removed on the back of those hard intake lines.

Finally, we are left with two electrical cables and a vacuum line that needs to be removed as well. All of these have to be removed before the intercooler is pulled out of the engine.

Step 2: Cleaning a Top Mount Intercooler

So before we start, we are going to tape off the bottom part of the Intercooler with round hose adaptions. Also, wear gloves to avoid contact with the cleansers that we are going to work with.

  • Applying Engine Degreaser

Grab some engine degreaser and mix little water into it. Then pour the solution into the Intercooler. Shake the liquid from side to side. Take your time to clean the Intercooler properly. Pour the liquid down into an oil pan. Repeat to get a cleaner result.

  • Applying Kerosene

Now pour the kerosene inside the Intercooler and shake as done before. However, do not pour it down instantly; rather, let it stand for 15 minutes just to allow the remaining oil to break down. Then pour it down.

  • Applying Methylated Spirit

The final step is to take the methylated spirit and follow the step with kerosene. Let it stand again for 15 minutes before pouring out. Then wash with water to get any remaining fluids out.

Step 3: Drying

Let it sit in the sun for drying. After that, blow some air using a hairdryer into the Intercooler just to make sure it is dry. It is very important to ensure that the Intercooler is 100% dry before reinstalling it to the car.

Step 4: Reinstalling the Intercooler

Refitting the Intercooler is exactly the reverse of how you took it out. Place it on top of the four mounting bolts. Then line up the electrical cables and plug them back into the rear of the Intercooler. After that, connect the four supporting bolts, followed by the intake lines and then the front hoses and their hose clamps.

How Often Should You Clean Your Intercooler

Your Intercooler can get really dirty from your everyday drive. And as it gets accumulated with dirt and oil, it can start to be kind of challenging for your engine to work efficiently.

Your Intercooler is advised to be cleaned at least once every twelve months. That is for your engine to run smoothly and at optimal temperature.


A car is one of the best companions you have by your side. For this reason, it is your duty and responsibility to give proper attention to your car and take good care of it.

Imagine being on vacation and being left stranded in the middle of the highway only because your car has overheated. Or even having drastically high fuel costs only because your intercooler is not optimized and cleaned.

It is necessary to take care of what takes care of you. Just as your car drives you on wonderful rides, it sure can drive you crazy with unusually high temperatures and fuel consumption. So it is advised that you open up the bonnet today and take a look at your Intercooler.

Following this guide will surely help you clean your intercooler all by yourself, and it can all be done with little effort and in no time.

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