Whether you are rebuilding a classic muscle car or creating a race car able to blister the pavement, you know that engine temperature is key in producing more horsepower. If the engine block is stone-cold, fluids are thicker, and all the moving parts struggle to achieve the optimum operating motion. On the other hand, too much heat breaks down the lubricants and can even damage all the moving components of the engine. Finding that sweet spot of not too cool or too hot is the job of your radiator. Upgrading to a performance radiator helps your car maintain that sweet spot where your engine produces the most horsepower without producing too much wear and tear.
Lightweight Aluminum Construction
Older radiators were often built out of copper and brass. The best replacement radiators are constructed out of aluminum. The durable metal is flexible, durable, and much lighter than the older materials. When you are leaping off the line, saving a few pounds under the hood can help you convert horsepower into speed. If you have sufficient room under the hood, you can even increase the size of the radiator, drastically increasing your cooling power without adding weight.
More Rows–More Fins–Larger Tubes
Since aluminum can be extruded into very thin sheets, newer performance radiators are able to pack more fins, more rows, and larger circulating hoses into a similarly sized unit. More surface area provides more opportunity for the heat from your engine to be dissipated into the air. After hitting peak RPMs while screaming down the quarter-mile, your engine will be able to cool off faster and prepare for the next time trial without overheating. If you are going for endurance, the best replacement radiators work to maintain the proper engine temperature without sacrificing speed.
While hunting down your aluminum radiator with three rows and one-inch tubes, you should also look for a dual-pass design. The tubes enter the core from one side, pass to the other side, and then take a U-turn to exit at the bottom of the core on the same side as the entry. The engine coolant spends more time circulating through the core allowing the fins to grab more heat, returning colder fluid to the engine case.
However, if you forget about the radiator fan when shopping for the best replacement radiator, you could be sabotaging your upgrade. Make sure that the performance radiator that you select fits into the compartment while leaving enough room for the fan to circulate plenty of air. Take a good look at your grille and air intakes. A larger radiator that is blocked by sheet metal will end up trapping excess heat under the hood.
Before you click to buy your new performance radiator, make sure to check out the parts reviews. Other drivers will be sharing important information and experience allowing you to make the most out of your purchase while adding a few more horsepower at the track.