Keeping Your Car's Engine Cool
Several factors work against your vehicle’s performance to make your ride less smooth. Of all the factors, heat is the most prevalent. When your car’s engine starts to overheat frequently, some of the results include:
- Breaking down of fluids
- Loss of engine power
- Disruption in ignition
The Decreased Lifecycle Of Engine Parts
For the above reasons, it’s important to keep your car’s engine cool. You can do this by learning about the working principles of your car's cooling system and by proper maintenance. Let’s talk about engine cooling parts, their working, and ways to maintain them.
How A Car's Engine Cooling System Works
When a car’s engine is running, a lot of heat is produced. Eventually, the engine starts to heat up, which must be cooled continuously. Otherwise, it results in immediate damage like a seized engine. Thanks to the engine cooling system, the engine is cooled continuously with the engine coolant's circulation. To learn more about it, let’s get into how a car’s engine cooling system works.
There are two types of engine cooling systems: air-cooled & liquid-cooled. Air-cooled cooling systems are a thing of the past, and most cars have liquid cooling systems. So we’ll talk about liquid cooling systems here.
What Happens Inside
The engine cooling system with a liquid-based cooling continuously passes the liquid through the passages and keep the engine cooled. A water pump in the cooling system pushes the liquid through the engine block. The liquid keeps passing through every passage continuously while absorbing the heat from every passage.
The heated liquid arrives in the radiator and is cooled here. Air coming through the grille cools the liquid. Once the liquid has cooled, it returns to the cooling system and passes through the engine block to absorb more heat.
The thermostat is a major component of the engine cooling system. It’s responsible for regulating the process that decides whether the liquid will pass through the engine block or not. When the liquid returns from the radiator, the thermostat checks the temperature of the liquid and identifies if the liquid is at the right temperature to pass through the engine block or not. In case the liquid hasn’t achieved the right temperature, it goes back to the radiator.
The coolant/liquid keeps circulating until it reaches the right temperature, and only then the thermostat valve is opened for the liquid to enter the engine block.
Since the engine produces extreme heat, it’s highly likely for the coolant to reach its boiling point. However, the overall engine cooling system is pressurized that prevents the coolant from reaching its boiling point. When the pressure builds up, it needs to be released. The radiator moves the liquid and pressure into the reserve tank. The coolant stays in the tank until it comes back to the normal temperature.
The Cooling Agent
Engine coolant or cooling agent is a major component of a car’s engine cooling system. Typically, it’s composed of ethylene glycol. It can withstand up to 250 degrees of temperature while working as an antifreeze as well at the same time.
Generally, 50% coolant and 50% water is mixed. However, in areas with temperatures below 0, the coolant concentration can go up to 75% antifreeze and rest water.
Parts Of An Engine Cooling System
The car’s engine cooling system has several parts that work as a whole to maintain the temperature. In case one of the parts shows any irregularities, the cooling system can lose its efficiency and proper functioning, resulting in overheating.
Let’s see what the parts of an engine cooling system that keeps the engine cool are.
The electric cooling fan is responsible for circulating the coolness, resulting in keeping the engine cool. The fan comes on only when the temperature rises above 230°F. Otherwise, it stays off. Once the temperature goes below the maximum range, the fan goes off.
The thermostat is one of the major components of an engine cooling system. It regulates the temperature of the internal combustion engine. It also controls the process that let the coolant to enter the engine block. In case the coolant is not cool enough to enter the engine block again, the thermostat valve won’t let it pass and send it back to the radiator.
The water pump is responsible for pushing the coolant into the passages. When the coolant is at the required temperature, the water pump sends it into the heater core and cylinder head.
When the coolant passes through the engine block, it absorbs the heat. Then it enters the radiator and is cooled off here.
- Heater core
The heater core produces heated air for you. The heater is used in winters only. However, it’s part of the engine cooling system. It takes the heat extracted from the coolant and blows it inside the car.
The whole cooling system connects internally through several hoses. The passage created by these hoses lets the coolant to circulate through the cooling system and enter into the engine block.
- Fan clutch
The fan clutch detects the temperature of the air coming through the radiator.
How To Maintain The Car’s Engine Cooling System?
The life of your vehicle and its performance depends on how well the vehicle is maintained. In case you fail to provide the required maintenance and care to your vehicle’s cooling system, you will experience a decrease in horsepower, fuel efficiency, and other lubrications' performance. That’s why it’s extremely important to maintain the engine cooling system and all of its components.
- Before you start the engine, make sure to check the water levels each day in the morning. If there’s a decrease in the coolant level, fill it up to the recommended level.
- Always replace the coolant according to the recommendations of the manufacturer. Never wait too long to replace the coolant. There’s no way you can determine the coolant condition just by looking at its appearance, so always follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
- When you replace the coolant, try flushing the engine cooling system with a high-quality product. Flushing your engine cooling system after every five years or 30,000 miles is a recommended practice. Thorough flushing of the cooling system clears the system and removes debris, rust, and other sediments' build-up.
- When switching brands, system flushing is a must thing to do.
- Make sure to maintain the right concentration of the mixture. Irregular concentration can increase corrosion.
- Check the radiator hoses regularly. If there are any obvious signs, replace the affected parts without any delays. You can check the hoses by squeezing them. If they are expanded, excessively soft, or crunchy, replace them immediately.
- If you experience excessive overheating, make sure to take your vehicle to your mechanic. Give it the right treatment, replace its affected parts, and keep the system perfectly cleaned.
- Never use low-quality coolants in your cooling system. If any component is broken, always replace it with a high-quality one.
- Always keep the radiator cap tightly closed so that the heated coolant doesn’t spill out.
We hope that this write-up helps you learn something about your car’s engine cooling system, and you can maintain the cooling system. At D2P Autoparts UK, we have a wide variety of engine cooling products to meet all your repair needs.