Why Is Oil Cooling Important for Engines

There are a number of viscous fluids coursing through an automobile, whether they are used for cooling, lubrication, or both. Most engines like internal combustion engines are only about 33% efficient, meaning that the remaining 67% is generally wasted through heat energy and noise, all of which dissipate into the surrounding area through some means. With the amount of moving parts transferring an unprecedented amount of friction, oil serves as one of the most important fluids in a car.

Oil is especially important when metal-on-metal contact occurs, as this can cause extreme wear on engine components. As such, it is used to lubricate these rotating parts, picking up a lot of the heat in the process. Heat energy created by an engine needs to be released to its surroundings through some form of a heat exchanger. For instance, a water-cooling system utilizes a radiator, while an oil system takes advantage of oil coolers.

Similar to miniature cross-flow heat exchangers in appearance, oil coolers can be situated in many positions within a car’s body to maximize their cooling efficiency. As oil makes its way through the engine block, the steering system, and the turbocharger in turbocharged vehicles, oil can heat up rapidly, especially when operating at high speeds. For this reason, oil must be cooled before it enters the sump or oil reservoir to be distributed around these systems. If not, the oil may reach an usable viscosity.

Viscosity is a measure of how easily a fluid is able to flow, and as oils lose or gain heat, their viscosity increases and decreases accordingly. For further context, thick, lumpy oil has a high viscosity, while a smooth, thin oil flows with ease and has a lower viscosity. As such, automotive oils are specifically designed to remain with certain ranges of viscosity. For example, if too much heat is transferred to the oil, its viscosity decreases to the point that it would have trouble lubricating the required systems properly.

Achieving the perfect viscosity for your oil is a balancing act. You want your oil to be viscous enough to cling to particular gears and other moving parts, keeping them amply lubricated. However, you also want the oil to flow smoothly throughout the oil system to sufficiently lubricate the car’s mechanical components. More than that, since temperature is a critical factor in the viscosity of oils, cooling is an essential process.

To accomplish this, oil enters the oil cooler at a high temperature, circulates via tubes that are lined with heat-releasing fins, and then exits the cooler at a colder temperature. The oil cooler can be plumbed into a vehicle through the use of extended oil lines to divert the fluid via a heat exchanger. However, keep in mind that, if engine modifications are carried out, an oil cooler will be necessary. With more power comes more heat energy that can transfer to the oil.

Cogent Sourcing is an online distributor of seal oil system components, tank oil reservoir parts, core heat exchangers, and more. With countless ready-to-purchase options, customers can easily meet their rigid time constraints and budget parameters. At Cogent Sourcing, we subject our inventory to varying levels of quality assurance measures, tests, verifications, and assessments, allowing us to guarantee the high caliber of our offerings. Backed by unmatched lead times and unbeatable cost savings on thousands of items, we leverage our purchasing power and market expertise to bring you the best possible solutions for even the most rigid operational restraints. For additional questions about our part catalogs, call or email us at any time; we are available around the clock!


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