Today’s heavy-duty diesel engines run hotter than ever, and the harder your truck works, the higher the temperature gauge rises. Your engine’s standard operating temperature is about 210 degrees Fahrenheit – only two degrees below the boiling point of water.

In order for your engine to keep performing at optimal efficiency, its cooling system must be properly maintained. Anything that allows the temperature of your engine to rise and stay above normal can cause damage and potentially lead to engine failure.

Your engine’s charge air cooler (CAC) is on the front line of defense against heat. It takes compressed air from the turbocharger, cooling it before sending it into your engine. The higher the compression of the air, the more dense the air becomes, resulting in increased engine efficiency. But if the air compression is reduced significantly by leaks in the system, the engine will produce less horsepower and burn more fuel. A bad charge air cooler can cause you to lose half a mile per gallon, which can cost you more than $5,000 in additional fuel costs over the course of a year.

If you think your CAC is failing, get it checked out by the experts at your local Volvo Trucks dealership. It’s recommended that your CAC should be tested during each preventive maintenance visit or every time your oil is changed. You can also purchase a test kit with a gauge that attaches to the CAC and pressure it up to 30 psi. Your CAC should hold air for at least 15 seconds. If you lose 5 psi or more of pressure within 15 seconds, you may need to replace your CAC.

Seven signs your charge air cooler may be going bad are:

  • Frequent failure of components such as turbo and exhaust manifolds
  • Decreased fuel economy
  • Elevated coolant temperature
  • Excessive soot in the oil
  • Low engine power
  • More frequent DPF regenerations
  • Premature piston, ring and valve failure

If your charge air cooler needs to be replaced, ask your Volvo parts and service professionals for information on their broad offering of replacement engine cooling components. Be sure to consider value-priced, high quality Road Choice™ (insert hyperlink at "Road Choice to charge air coolers and radiators when making your decision. Be sure to sign up for the SELECT Part Store™ to take advantage of monthly specials and convenient ordering of hard-to-find parts.