The principle behind the internal combustion engine is that a mix of fuel and air is ignited inside the cylinders and by compressing and expanding this mix, extremely powerful forces are resulted, forces that are converted to the car?s wheels, moving the car forward.
The bigger the compression is, the larger will be the engine?s power output. And this is what everybody wants, more power from the engine, more speed and better handling. If you choose to install a turbo charger, you will increase the engine?s power significantly.
But all these methods of increasing the car?s power output have a series of downsides and an incredible amount of heat is the most important one. Heat is the number one enemy of mechanical components and even if car engine?s is designed to handle these incredible high temperatures, if these levels get out of control, the engine will definitely break.
Car engineers tried to find answers to removing this heat from the engine and their outcome was the water-cooled radiator. The car?s cooling system is one of the car?s most important elements and keeping it in perfect condition is the key behind a reliable car. It is the radiator?s job to remove the heat from the engine and it should work at maximum efficiency even in extreme conditions.
The car?s engine can quickly overheat if there is any problem with the car?s cooling system and this peril is especially higher in very slow moving traffic or during hot, summer days.
The radiator is a large matrix of small pipes, and when the coolant passes through the cooling cores of the radiator, it cools down, eliminating the heat it has accumulated from the engine.
The bigger the radiator, the large amount of heat it can remove from the engine. Also the coolant must be of high quality, because if there are any impurities in the engine?s radiator or the cooling system is damaged, its cooling properties will go down. Inside the cooling system, the coolant is sealed and it is under pressure and that is why, in these conditions, the coolant will boil at around 120 degrees Celsius.
At around 100 degrees Celsius the onboard computer will turn the radiator fan on to further help to cool down the coolant. If you have paid attention to the physics classes in high school, you might remember that a radiator is a heat exchanger and its purpose is to transfer the heat from one part of the system (in our case the engine) to another part (the radiator fins). The air moving at high speeds over the radiator?s large contact area will cool this liquid very quickly and electric and hydraulic pumps will pump the coolant back in the engine.
From time to time you may need to work on the radiator or on other elements of the car?s cooling system and you have to be very careful when doing so. The radiator?s fan is very powerful and dangerous and you should disconnect its wires that come from the battery (the fan is usually electric driven and commanded).
If the radiator has been hit and it looses coolant, you will usually have to replace it to keep the engine?s integrity. There are fixes to minor radiator leakages, but major problems can only be solved by replacing the radiator.
By maintaining properly, the car?s cooling system you can be sure it will last longer and you will have fewer things to worry about when driving your car.