What Is a Radiator: Its Working and Structure
Most of us might own a car but have zero ideas about how our car functions from the inside. Some might have a vague idea that there's a fuel tank and an engine, but how does the entire vehicle operate?
As easy as it is to buy a car today, it is also easy to hire help for maintaining it; however, exercising good knowledge about your car can help extend its durability. Today, we will discuss a car's radiator and everything about it. Let us start our discussion by learning what is a radiator.
What Is the Radiator in a Car?
In simple terms, a radiator is a car component that plays a major role in keeping your car cool and boosts its performance.
Whenever you start your car, you turn on its engine. And while you enjoy those smooth rides, your engine vehicle burns fuel and creates a lot of energy. Now, this operation inside the car produces a lot of heat. And, a rapid build-up of this heat can end up damaging your car. This is where a radiator comes to play its role; they perform their magic to get rid of this excess heat from building up and creating any sort of damage.
The process within a radiator starts when the thermostat situated at the nose of the engine detects excess heat. It is now when your car’s radiator releases water and coolant, which gets sent through your car’s engine to balance and absorb the heat, thereby preventing further build-up.
As this water and coolant picks up excess heat, it goes back to your car’s radiator, where the radiator blows over it to cool it down by replacing the heat with the air outside your car. A radiator features thin metal fins and a fan; they combine to blow off heat and cool down your car’s engine.
Now that you have a basic knowledge about your car's radiator; let's now understand its structure and how radiators work.
What Is the Structure of a Radiator?
To begin with, the car radiator is placed under your car's hood and in the engine's nose, and its coolant reservoir is just next to it, along with all its components. To understand, what is the use of a radiator, first, understand its different parts and how all of them equally play a major role in cooling down your engine.
The four main parts of a radiator are mentioned as below:
It is the major part which mainly initiates the working of radiator. From outside, a core looks like a metal block, and it consists of small metal fins on its inside. These small metal fins help in venting the air.
Inside the core, the hot liquid from the engine gets cooled down before it proceeds further to do its job. You can classify the radiator based on the core as one-core, two-core, and three-core.
2. Pressure Cap
The coolant in your car is consistently under a lot of pressure. A pressure cap seals the cooling system or the coolant, ensuring that it remains pressurized and exhibits efficient performance.
A pressure cap is important to prevent the coolant from reaching its boiling point, as the temperature under the hood quite often rises excessively. If the coolant is hot, it gets damaged and spreads the damage to the different parts of the engine. For this reason, ensuring the proper functioning of the pressure cap is very important.
3. Inlet and Outlet Tank
These tanks are located on the head of the radiator. It is in these tanks where the coolant flows in and out of your car’s radiator. In general, the inlet and outlet tanks are either made of metal or durable plastic.
Hot coolant from the engine flows to the inlet tank, and after it gets cooled in the radiator, it exceeds back to the car's engine through the outlet tank. This coolant movement from one tank to the other occurs via radiator hoses. A radiator hose connects the radiator, inlet tank, and outlet tank to ensure smooth functioning.
4. Transmission Cooler
In multiple cars, the transmission cooler is the same as the engine cooler. The fluid passes via a steel pipe to ensure the coolant's smooth circulation in a transmission cooler. The coolant gets cooled within the radiator as heat automatically develops in the transmission system.
Moreover, several cars also feature a separate radiator for their transmission system.
Being aware of the different parts of a radiator, now let us understand how a radiator works as a whole.
How Does a Radiator Work?
You can simply say that a radiator is a kind of heat exchanger.
Today, most cars use an aluminium radiator. The moment the car's engine starts developing heat, its coolant absorbs this heat and takes it away from the engine block's radius. Then, through a tube, it flows to the inlet tank and reaches the radiator. Then, air is blown through the inbuilt fans until this liquid exchange its heat with the air outside and cools down.
In layman's terms, you can say that a radiator helps in cooling down the coolant, which further cools down your car's engine.
Even though radiators come in various designs, shapes, and sizes, their main function is the same.
In a nutshell, understanding what is a radiator and how it works enables you to understand your car better and maintain it better. By understanding your car's radiator, you can prevent it from getting overheated and extend the longevity of your car.