How Your Radiator Works

August 23, 2011  

A functional radiator is critical to the operation of your vehicle. By understanding just how the radiator works, and what it does, you will be aware when your car is in need of Everett Radiator Service & Repair.

What Does the Radiator Do?

The process of internal combustion within the engine of your car creates heat. Additional heat is created by the friction created from the numerous moving parts within the engine. Even with the assistance of oil, pumped through the engine block to reduce friction, the engine becomes extremely hot through normal operation.

The radiator is part of the cooling system of your car. A mixture of antifreeze and water (about 50/50 mixture), is used to cool the engine block. The mixture is pumped through the engine to pull heat away from vital components. Without a cooling system:

  • The engine will overheat
  • The engine will seize
  • Friction between the pistons and cylinders will increase, eventually causing the pistons to snap, causing catastrophic engine failure

The Flow of Engine Coolant

The coolant, superheated when passed through the engine block, is transferred to the radiator through a rubber hose. The surface area of the radiator is maximized to provide optimum cooling surface with numerous chambers and folds. As the superheated coolant mixture is passed through the radiator, the heat is transferred to the metal and dissipated to the atmosphere. Additional cooling is provided by the ambient air that passes through the car’s grille and over the radiator when driving. Some vehicles even have an external, belt-driven fan to assist with the cooling process. The cooled fluid is circulated back to the engine block, and the cycle repeated continuously as you drive.

What can Go Wrong with a Radiator?

Reduction of coolant flow will inhibit engine cooling. Reduced flow can be caused by:

  1. Leak(s) in the cooling system
  2. Blockage(s) in the cooling system
If there is insufficient flow of coolant, the engine will ultimately overheat. For this reason, it is essential that you maintain the coolant levels in your car. Should your radiator or the circulating hose begin to leak, it is absolutely essential that you turn your car off and allow it to cool naturally. Do not drive a vehicle with a leaky radiator or hose – call Everett Radiator Service & Repair immediately!