Automotive Cooling System and How it Works

Understanding Your Automotive Cooling System

It’s no surprise that your engine runs at a pretty high-temperature.  Most of your gasoline’s energy turns into heat and the longer and harder an engine runs, the hotter it gets. Without a correctly operating automotive cooling system, an engine would overheat, seize, and completely stop working, requiring a total replacement. There are many different components that work together to help keep your engine cool.

Your Coolant

First, let’s look at the coolant running through your car’s radiator. Coolant is a special mix of water and antifreeze. This liquid provides a significantly lower freezing point than water alone. It also  protects the engine with special additives which perform a number of functions like preventing corrosion and providing lubricant for moving parts. Coolant also operates better than plain water in extremely higher temperatures. Since the coolant holds heat fairly well, the heat is drawn away from the engine, making it cooler. The grill on the front of your car allows outside air to pass through to the radiator cooling the heated coolant from the engine thus providing a , a natural way to keep the temperature down.

Your Engine Thermostat

Your engine’s thermostat reads the temperature of the coolant and opens and shuts accordingly, keeping your vehicle running within a tight range of temperatures for maximum efficiency. It remains closed while the engine is cold. As the engine warms up, the thermostat begins to open, letting the coolant start to flow. The pressure cap works similarly by opening up by a spring-loaded valve when the temperature, pressure, and boiling point reach a certain point. This keeps air from becoming trapped inside the system, allowing your radiator to maximize the use of coolant.

The Fan and the Water Pump

The fan is a key part of your automotive cooling system and it keeps the air moving through the radiator when your car is not moving. The fan pulls the air through the radiator cooling the internal coolant. That coolant is moved through your automotive cooling system by the water pump which takes care of moving your heated coolant throughout the cooling system.

These two engine parts ensure there is constant coolant flow and air flow within your automotive cooling system, therefore keeping everything below critical temperatures.

The Radiator

Your radiator is what dissipates the heat out of your automotive cooling system. As heated coolant from the engine passes through the radiator, with the help of the water pump, the radiator allows that heat to be picked up by the air passing through the radiator core. The fan which is moving this air then cools the heated fluid allowing the cooler coolant to return to the engine. This completes the cycle of heating and then cooling your system.

automotive cooling system

Keeping your Automotive Cooling System Maintained

Always watch for signs your car is not cooling properly. Puddles of coolant under your car, a high temperature reading on your dashboard, the smell of antifreeze or the sounds of hissing from your engine are a few signs that your cooling system needs to be checked. By regularly checking your automotive cooling system for leaks or any potential problems, you can help ensure your car has a better chance at arriving at your destination worry free.

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