Every car has an engine to create power in order to move. During this process, the engine generates heat and this heat continues to rise. If this heat is not controlled, components of the engine will begin to melt and the engine may explode. That is why a system is designed to keep the engine at a favourable temperature to maintain optimal performance. We will be looking at components that form the cooling system so as to appreciate the engineering ingenuity put into the development of an engine.

A vehicle’s engine-cooling system serves not just to keep the engine cool, but to also keep its temperature warm enough to ensure efficient, clean operation. System components include a radiator to dissipate heat, a fan or fans to ensure adequate airflow for radiator cooling, a thermostat valve that opens when the desired operating temperature is reached and a water pump (or coolant pump) to circulate coolant through the engine, hoses and other components.

Cooling System

Most vehicles now employ an expansion tank that allows the coolant to expand, and exit, the cooling circuit when hot, and to return when the car is turned off and the engine cools. The cooling system also incorporates elements of the cabin’s ventilation system, because engine heat is used to warm the car’s interior. 

List Of Components That Make Up The Cooling System

  • Radiator Cools off the coolant mixture by allowing air passing through the tube/fin area to dissipate the heat generated by the engine.
  • Water Pump Draws the cooled coolant from the radiator and pumps it through the engine block, cylinder head(s), heater core and back to the radiator.
  • Head Gasket Seals the major parts of the engine. Prevents oil, anti-freeze and cylinder pressure from mixing together.
  • Thermostat Controls the minimum operating temperature of the engine. The thermostat is closed when the engine is cold in order to speed warm-up and opens when normal operating temperature is reached to allow the coolant to pass through the radiator.
  • Hoses Connect the other main components of the cooling system and serves as a channel for the coolant to flow through the system. Hose manufacturers recommend replacing every 4 years regardless of appearance because there may be deterioration of the inside of the hose which cannot be seen.
  • Fan Clutch Senses the temperature of the air coming through the radiator and either slips or binds up to pull the required amount of air through the radiator.
  • Electric Cooling Fan Most front wheel drive cars use this because of the transverse mounted engine. It is turned on by a system of sensors and relays when the engine reaches about 230 F and stays on until it is cooled to about 200 F.