Even without a deep understanding of cars, it is fairly obvious that electric cars are very different from
internal combustion engines. Apart from the names, there are a ton of other major differences between
the two types of cars including the cooling system. This may raise the question of whether the electric cars like Tesla even require a such a system.
Do Teslas have cooling systems? Teslas use cooling systems in all of their models. The primary cooling system is used for cooling the battery, but it is also used in the HVAC system. Multiple radiators are implemented throughout the vehicle for optimal temperature regulation. Coolant, a water pump, and a thermostat are also major components to the cooling system.
Seeing as electric cars do not have internal combustion occurring, do they have a need for radiators?
Can they be used to cool other components? Do they have coolant flowing through them? What kind of
coolant do they use? We will dive further into the answers to all of these questions.
Do All Teslas Have A Cooling System?
In an internal combustion car, your radiator serves a very critical function. Inside of the engine, you have
explosions going off constantly. These can be happening thousands of times per second. This produces
an insane amount of heat. This heat has to get pulled out or else the car would start to melt itself. A lot
of this heat is transferred out through the exhaust.
As such, radiators were implemented along with other cooling system components to help the car to
quickly get to the appropriate temperature and then to maintain it at a desired operating temperature.
The radiator is essentially just a big heat exchanger used to pull the heat out of engine coolant that is
circulated throughout the engine. This relatively simple design is extremely efficient at cooling your
As we have mentioned, Teslas definitely do have cooling systems. These are used for different purposes
than in an internal combustion engine vehicle, but they do essentially the same thing. The goal is just to
provide cooling when needed to devices and systems that will generate heat with use.
Despite the varying technologies between internal combustion engine cars, electric cars, and any other
type of vehicle out there, we will likely continue to see radiators in use for the foreseeable future. These
devices are very simple but extremely effective. They can reliably provide cooling for long periods of
time. This tried-and-true technology will not be going anywhere anytime soon.
What Are All The Components In A Tesla Cooling System?
So, what are the different components in the cooling system on a Tesla? First off, you have the radiator.
This is the heart of the cooling system. This is responsible for taking the heat out of the coolant so that it
can be recirculated over and over again for continuous cooling. Without the radiator, the entire cooling
system would be useless. Your Tesla will have several of these.
The second component is the coolant itself. This is the actual fluid that gets circulated throughout the
cooling system. As the coolant is flowing, it absorbs heat from nearby objects. In the case of an electric
car, it flows through channels throughout the lithium-ion battery pack. This pulls the heat out of the
cells and allows them to stay at an optimal temperature.
The third component in these cooling systems is the water pump. The water pumps job is fairly
straightforward. It simply applies the force necessary to circulate the coolant throughout the cooling system. Without the water pump, there would not be any flow of coolant at all. This is what gets the
The last major component is the thermostat. The thermostat has the responsibility of regulating the
temperature of the system or device that the cooling system is stabilizing. Most devices have an optimal
temperature range and they will work the best when kept in that range.
As such, you want to get to that temperature as quickly as possible and stay there throughout the duration of your driving. The thermostat can open and close in order to allow or stop flow. This can be done to avoid overcooling the battery and also to allow it to get to the operating temperature as quickly as possible.
Does A Tesla Have More Coolant Than A Regular Vehicle?
What kind of coolant can you use in a Tesla? Tesla creates its own Tesla branded coolant that it
recommends you use in your vehicle. If you are not going to use the Tesla branded one, you just need to
make sure you find one made from the same things. Doing this will maximize the life of your battery and
also your cooling system.
This Tesla coolant is a G-48 ethylene-glycol coolant mixture. When it comes to determining which
coolant to use, it is best to use the genuine Tesla brand. If you were to use a less effective coolant on
accident, this can kill your battery. Then you can be stuck with a bill of over $20,000.
It is best to just know that you are using the best coolant for your battery. In addition, you must be very careful that you do not contaminate the cooling system when adding coolant or servicing. You do not want to risk damaging your battery. If you are not confident, it is always safe to take it to a certified shop.
So how much coolant does a Tesla actually have? While the temperatures are much lower, you need to
remember that the battery pack is huge. In addition, there are thousands of cells in the battery that all
require cooling. In order to adequately supply cooling to the entire volume of the battery, a large
volume of coolant is required. As such, the cooling system requires 11 liters of coolant or almost 3
How does this compare to a gas-powered car? The amount of coolant can vary quite a bit based off of
what type of vehicle you have. Generally, the bigger the engine, the more coolant that the vehicle will
take. The average comes out to about 3 gallons though. So electric cars and gas-powered cars use about
the same amount of coolant.
How Often Do Teslas Overheat?
So, how often do Teslas experience overheating? If you have driven around quite a bit with an internal
combustion engine car, you likely will have experienced an overheat. Especially if you travel in very hot
areas, the likelihood of an overheat grows quite a bit. This can happen for a couple of reasons. Driving
the car very hard can lead to increased heat load that the cooling system cannot keep up with. Also, if
your cooling system is not working at 100% you can experience an overheated vehicle. This could be a result of low coolant, the wrong coolant, a failing water pump, a leak, or a failing radiator.
If your internal combustion engine car were to start to overheat, the only immediate remedy is to pull
over and wait for it to cool down. There really is not any work that you can do on the cooling system
until it has cooled down. You will not be able to add coolant or anything else for a bit. If the engine were
to get too hot, you could cause severe engine damage. This is often resulting in a blown head gasket.
Do Teslas experience similar problems? It is actually extremely rare for an electric car to overheat. These
cars do not generate anywhere near as much heat as an internal combustion engine. The cooling
systems are much smaller because they do not need to do nearly as much. Even without appropriate
cooling, it would take quite a bit of time before the system got too hot.
Generally, an overheat on a Tesla is a result of one of two problems. The first is a cooling system
problem. This is very much the same as the problems that could lead to an internal combustion engine
overheat. If your cooling system is working properly, then this should not ever really happen. This is
another reason why it is very important that cooling system repairs and maintenance are always done
by someone who really knows what they are doing.
The second reason would be if you were driving your car extremely hard for an extended period of time.
Generally, this would only be the case when driving on a track for a while. Accelerating quickly every
now and then will not get you anywhere near overheating. If you are racing on a track though, you will
generate a lot more heat than normal and this could potentially lead to overheating.
What Components On A Tesla Are Protected By The Cooling System
So, what exactly is the purpose of the cooling system on a Tesla? First off, there is a radiator setup for
cooling the battery. This allows for the battery to be maintained at an ideal operating temperature to
avoid overheating. As you can expect, batteries do not generate anywhere close to the same level of
heat as an internal combustion engine. The batteries generally are about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The
battery coolant itself rarely even gets to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The second radiator is used for the HVAC system. Again, this serves the exact same purpose as any other
radiator. The goal is just to transfer the heat in a fluid to the air. So, now you can see the answer to our
original question. Even Tesla utilizes radiators in all of its cars. While the goal is not cooling the engine as
it does not have one, they can be used to cool down any other system that might have temperature
The same technologies we have talked about are seen across all of Tesla’s different models. Heat
exchangers are very common when it comes to a wide variety of systems. Anything that needs to be
kept at a certain temperature requires some level of temperature control. Radiators have proven across
decades to be a very reliable and efficient way of doing this.
How Often Should You Do Regular Maintenance On A Tesla Cooling System
We have now established that Teslas do in fact utilize radiators albeit for very different purposes. Now
let us dive into what the maintenance side of this looks like. How often do you need to service your
radiators? Do you need to flush the coolant? Anything else?
First off, we have talked about how the battery cooling radiator does not get anywhere near as hot as
the cooling system on a traditional internal combustion engine. As such, the entire cooling system is
much smaller. The radiator is much smaller, the hoses through which the coolant flows are smaller, and
the pumps are smaller. In addition, these systems do not utilize any sort of belts or pulleys that can wear
out on you.
So, in reality, there is much less that can go wrong, and the components last much longer. Tesla
only recommends a coolant change at 150,000 miles. That is significantly longer than a standard internal
combustion engine. During that initial 150,000 miles, there are no recommended services for the cooling
system. You do not need to do anything up until that point.
The only exception would be if something were to fail. The things you could potentially experience
would be a cracked regulator, a leaking radiator hose, or a failed pump. If any of these things happen,
you will need to get things repaired which generally also entails replacing the coolant. Apart from that,
these cooling systems are about as close to maintenance free as you can possibly get.
Oftentimes an inspection is also performed on the cooling system. While Tesla may not recommend any
service being performed, you are always welcome to inspect your cooling system. The first and easiest
thing to check is the coolant level. Your coolant level should not really change at all unless your system is
leaking. If you are leaking, you will need to find out from where. This could be a crack in the radiator, a
cracked radiator hose, a poor radiator hose connection, or a bad pump.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace The Coolant In A Tesla?
So, if you need to replace the coolant in a Tesla, how much can this cost you? The first thing we will
need to take a look at is the cost of the new coolant. It is highly recommended that you use the
authentic Tesla coolant for your car. There may be cheaper replacements available, but you do not want
to risk getting the wrong stuff and letting it ruin your $20,000 battery. Make sure that you get the right
coolant by just purchasing the Tesla brand coolant.
So, how much does this coolant cost? As we have mentioned, most of the Teslas hold about 3 gallons of
coolant. As such, you will need to buy that much new coolant. This is by far the most expensive cost of
replacing the coolant. You can find the Tesla branded coolant available online and at some parts stores.
This could cost you anywhere from $25-40 per gallon. You can also get this coolant at a Tesla dealership.
If you are going to do the replacement yourself, then that is the only cost involved in this process. You
should only attempt to do this fluid replacement though if you are very confident in the process.
Remember that this coolant is responsible for protecting your lithium-ion battery. If it is done wrong,
this can cost you $20,000+ in damages to your Tesla. If you were to add too much coolant, not enough
coolant, the wrong type of coolant, or if you were to not seal everything back up properly, you could
damage your battery.
If you do decide to have this done by a certified professional, then the coolant replacement will cost you
a little bit more. Fortunately, the coolant replacement is pretty simple and does not really take much
time. The thing that takes the most time is just waiting for the old coolant to all drain out. The
labor costs on getting this done are not very expensive. Depending on where you are getting this done,
labor will likely run between $50 and $150. This really is not too bad considering how long the coolant
lasts in these cars.