What is a Radiator and What Does it Do?

06 Nov What is a Radiator and What Does it Do?

You may have heard your technician talk about a radiator, or horror stories of someone needing their radiator replaced. What is a radiator, how does it work and what does it do? In this blog, we’ll answer your questions about your vehicle’s radiator.

What is a radiator?

The radiator is a crucial part of your vehicle’s cooling system. When your vehicle’s engine is running, the movement and friction causes the engine to get hot. If the engine gets too hot, it will overheat and fail. To prevent overheating, each engine has a system to maintain temperature. Engine coolant flows through the engine to carry away the resulting heat. The now hot coolant now reaches the radiator, where the heat is released into the atmosphere so the coolant can return to its cool state and begin the cycle all over again.


How does a radiator work?

Step 1: Your engine’s thermostat, located at the front, detects when the engine has begun to get too hot. This triggers the release of coolant and water stored in the radiator.

Step 2: The water and coolant mixture absorbs the heat created by engine friction and burned fuel. The liquid is sent back into the radiator where the surface area is large enough to let the coolant cool back down. There is also a fan positioned in this area to increase cooling.

Step 3: Air is brought through the vents from outside the car. This air further cools teh coolant. Once the coolant has returned to an acceptable temperature, it can be sent back to the engine to pick up more heat.


How does a radiator get damaged?

Radiators can become damaged and leak, referred to as having a radiator leak, through a few different ways. The leading cause of radiator leaks is from corrosion in your engine’s cooling system. This can come from other mechanisms in your engine puncturing holes or from rust. Other damage can occur to your radiator if you’re failing to have it serviced regularly or having it serviced incorrectly, or if you’re using an inappropriate coolant that isn’t keeping your engine’s heat regulated.


How often should I get my radiator maintenanced?

To maintain a functioning radiator, keep it filled with the appropriate amount of liquid. Use a 50/50 coolant and water mix.

Additionally, you should always keep your radiator cap on tight. If it becomes loose, your coolant chamber can lose pressurization.

You’ll also want to have your radiator cleaned out several times per year. We recommend having this done during oil changes.

Lastly, have your radiator flushed and filled on an annual basis.


Radiator Repair and Replacement in Moberly, MO

If your radiator needs to be repaired or replaced, bring it to the friendly technicians at KB Tire & Auto. We’ll get you taken care of quickly and for a fair price. Give us a call today!

Owners of KB Tire & Auto posing with tire display

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