Car Radiator – Understanding The Function of Car Radiator Made Easy

Posted on August 28th, 2009

How A Car Radiator Functions

Next to the engine, the “radiator” is a very important part of the car. Sadly, many drivers fail to understand its function.

Most mechanics, advice drivers to immediately stop driving when the “temperature meter” at the dashboard indicated “High”. To continue driving is to invite trouble, and costly repairs too.

To try and explain how a radiator functions is not an easy task. Considering how important it is to the car. No matter how difficult it might be, explanation on this subject is unavoidable.

The Water Tank

Firstly, the radiator or “tangki air” in Bahasa Malaysia is made of “metal”. It’s like a bee-hive. It’s like grooves interlocking. In it will flow water. Water that cools the engine.

Two thick rubber hoses will connect the radiator to the engine of the car. With the assistance of the top rubber hose, a water pump pushes the water into the tiny groves running through the entire engine block. This keeps the engine block cool.

When the water has circulated throughout the entire engine block, it will finally be drawn back into the radiator via the bottom thick rubber hose. The circulation of water into the engine and then back again into the radiator, is basically what keeps the engine running well.

The Cooling Fan

However, the entire process above cannot very well function without the assistance of the “fan”. The fan is situated in front of the radiator. The fan keeps the water in the radiator cool.

A “thermostat” in the fan unit, is what measures the water temperature. Connected to the temperature meter in the dashboard, is what tells the driver if the car is running under normal temperature or otherwise.

Cool indicates everything is running well. Be careful when you see the temperature arrow climbing towards “high”. Stop the car instantly. Investigate!

Beware of Boiling Water

In such situation, “Do Not” attempt, under whatever condition, should a driver open the radiator cap. The radiator now is filled with boiling water.

Water in such as situation, will “splurge” out and scald a person!

Another advice to drivers is this: “Steam” at this stage, will seem to appear to be coming out from the boiling radiator. Therefore, do not attempt to pour in cool water into the radiator!

Under the law of “contraction and expansion”, we learned in Physics, pouring in cold water into a steaming, hot radiator will cause the apparatus to break. Thus, this will incur expensive repairs to the engine.

The mechanics of how the radiator functions in itself is already difficult to understand. The maintenance of it will therefore be left to be explained in another article.


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