A lot of car owners have heard of radiators. However, there are some who do not even understand how a car radiator works. In short, the main component of a car’s cooling system is the car radiator. The main function is to regulate and monitor a car’s engine temperature and avoid overheating.
How does the car radiator work?
As everyone knows, the engine of a vehicle is the one giving it the power to operate. However, it needs some energy through the burning of fuel in order to make its many moving parts work in unison. The power being produced and the movement it allows the car and truck to make generates an incredible amount of heat all throughout the vehicle’s engine. It is very important to dissipate this heat from the car’s engine while driving to avoid overheating which can lead to severe damage to the engine.
When driving at normal or fast speeds, the engine is naturally cooled by the flow of air through the grille. The radiator helps in eliminating the excess heat generated by the car’s engine. It is part of a cooling system of an engine. This very important part of the cooling system also includes hoses that allow the coolant to circulate, a liquid coolant, a radiator fan, and a thermostat that keeps track of the coolant temperature.
The coolant will have to travel through the hoses from the car radiator to the engine for the absorption of excessive heat from the engine and back to the car radiator. After returning to the radiator, there are metal fins that are quite thin for releasing the heat from the coolant to the outside air as the hot liquid passes through it. For cars that are stationary, such as during a traffic jam, the fans will blow air to help in the reduction of the heated coolant’s temperature and blow the hot air out of the vehicle.
This is a heat exchange cycle that allows the recirculation through the engine. This continues to maintain an optimal operational temperature and prevention of overheating of the engine.
The main components of a radiator
Generally, the radiator has three parts – the pressure cap, the core, inlet tanks, and the outlet.
- The main section with a large metal block with narrow metal fins arranged in rows
- Where the heated coolant has been through to allow the exchange and release of heat
- Where the car radiator cools for the next cycle around this heat exchange cycle
The pressure cap
- Seals off the cooling systems
- Ensures that the cooling system is pressurized (this pressure is important for the radiator to run smoothly keeping the coolant from boiling and overflowing out of the engine)
The outlet and inlet tanks
- Direct coolant to the radiator after it has circulated through the engine.
- The tanks manage the liquid when it is extremely hot
- A moving (mechanized) part of the car that is very important in conducting the heat away from the engine allowing the car radiator to function efficiently
Failure of the Radiator
Basically, the engine can overheat whenever you drive under a sweltering and blistering weather condition or when stuck in traffic or a stoplight. However, the risk of overheating is higher if the radiator does not have enough coolant or there is a leakage in the hoses.
Other possible car radiator mishaps may include a mechanical concern about the fan, malfunctioning of the thermostat, and a broken pressure cap that cannot keep the pressure in the system resulting in the coolant to overflowing. Any of these radiator failures can damage the engine and will cost a lot of money for repair and replacement.
Car radiator preventative maintenance
Like most of the components of any vehicle, the radiator will require specific maintenance to make sure that the car will last and operate for a longer period of time. Below are some of the tips on preventive maintenance for your car:
- Replace car radiator hose every 3 years or 36,000 miles
- Check coolant levels on a regular basis. If the fluid level drops, check for leaks.
- Flush the coolant every 25,000 miles to remove the radiator and hose contaminants that will cause rusting
Cash for Clunkers recommends that you keep up with the above maintenance for your car radiator. If, however, your radiator is failing and you don’t have the time or ability to repair it, you have options. At Cash for Clunkers, we offer services related to buying used or junk cars. Should you be interested please visit Cash for Clunkers to get an instant quote or to find out more information.