Radiators are used for cooling internal combustion engines, mainly in automobiles but also in piston-engined aircraft, railway locomotives, motorcycles, stationary generating plants and other places where such engines are used.
To cool down the engine, a coolant is passed through the engine block, where it absorbs heat from the engine. The hot coolant is then fed into the inlet tank of the radiator (located either on the top of the radiator, or along one side), from which it is distributed across the radiator core through tubes to another tank on the opposite end of the radiator. As the coolant passes through the radiator tubes on its way to the opposite tank, it transfers much of its heat to the tubes which, in turn, transfer the heat to the fins that are lodged between each row of tubes. The fins then release the heat to the ambient air. Fins are used to greatly increase the contact surface of the tubes to the air, thus increasing the exchange efficiency.
The cooled coolant is fed back to the engine, and the cycle repeats. Normally, the radiator does not reduce the temperature of the coolant back to ambient air temperature, but it is still sufficiently cooled to keep the engine from overheating.
The Coolant Process:
Ethylene glycol, better known as anti-freeze, is the neon green liquid that flows from your engine and then through your radiator to cool it. The liquid is able to cool by passing through tubes inside of the radiator. As the liquid passes through these tubes, the heat from the liquid is displaced by the tubes and small "fins" connecting the tubes of the radiator. The liquid flows through these fins and tubes and the surrounding air is warmed by the displacement of heat. The liquid's heat is lost by allowing the radiator's assembly to "radiate" the heat caused by the liquid into the air. A fan pushes that hot air away from the radiator. Air heats up fast, so replacing the warm air around the radiator with cool air is extremely important. When the coolant finally exits the tube and fin assembly of the radiator, it has been sufficiently cooled and passes through the engine again.
Why should I fix a leak in my radiator?
The first thing that our team of professionals will tell you is that it is best to keep your engine running cool as to allow the engine to run more cleanly and efficiently. This in turn will allow your engine to last as long as possible and keep it safe from abnormal wear and tear. If that leak is not fixed properly as soon as possible, your engine may overheat causing very costly damage including:
- A blown out top header
- Destruction of your radiator entirely
- Cracking or blowing out the engine's head gasket
- Total engine seizure
Our friendly and courteous auto care professionals will repair your radiator, when possible, and get you back on the road with confidence. We want to make sure your radiator will keep your engine at the optimal temperature so you can avoid a much more costly visit to our shop. Contact us today to set up an appointment or request a quote for radiator service!
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