What Is a Radiator?

car radiator

What is a car radiator? Radiators are cooling devices fitted in automobiles. These devices primarily maintain the engine temperature at an optimal level. Automobile radiators should not be confused with home radiators that are used for heating homes. Radiators are usually fabricated from aluminum or brass, and they comprise a series of pipes through which a coolant (water or synthetic coolant) circulates.

How a Car Radiator Works

The working principle of a car radiator is as follows:

  1. A pumping system pushes the normal temperature coolant from the radiator towards the engine.
  2. A running engine produces a large amount of heat, which is absorbed by the coolant. This heated coolant is again pumped back to the radiator.
  3. Once the hot coolant reaches the radiator, it circulates through a series of pipes of the radiator.
  4. Air moving through the radiator absorbs this heat and brings down the temperature of the heated coolant.
  5. The procedure continues as long as the vehicle is running.
  6. In the absence of the radiator, the engine will cease to function due to overheating.

Function of Coolants in the Radiator

Most vehicles break down when the coolant in the radiator is used up. Previously, water was used as a cooling agent in automobiles. Now, synthetic coolants are widely available in the market. However, during winter, water freezes in the radiators, thus leading to the bursting of radiator pipes. Synthetic coolants have antifreeze in them; thus, they do not freeze when the surrounding temperatures are low. Synthetic coolants last longer (as compared to water).