The car engine component is one of the complex mechanism that was built by a car manufacturer. It is the soul of the car as it had the engine, transmission, fluid for the brakes and in some for the power steering, windscreen washer filler, balancing adjuster, compressor and many more. Although it is not as complicated as in the passenger aircraft, it is still an intrigued built mechanism. They are one component which is an integral part of the engine cooling mechanism and that is the car radiator.

How important is the car radiator? The car still can be started without the radiator and it will not cause any harm as long the engine does not overheat but in order to prevent this the car must not be on long run but the car is not built for short-run hence the radiator is vital in order to prevent the engine from overheating which is quite dangerous for the car engine.

The radiator usually is mounted in the place where the car will receive airflow from a forward movement of the vehicle such as in the behind of the front grill. This type of the radiator is for front engine and for the mid or rear engine like in the sports cars, it requires a long piping and it is a bit complex than the front engine like in the normal car. Usually, a car has one radiator but except for the Bugatti Veyron where due to the W16 engine characteristic it has 10 radiator. Each radiator had its own function where the three for cooling the engine, one heat exchanger for the air to liquid intercoolers, two for the air conditioning system, one for transmission oil, one for differential oil, one for engine oil, and one radiator that does nothing but cool the hydraulic oil used by the spoiler.

A front radiator grill in a BMW. Image credit by Alamy

Like most of the car component which has a history behind it in the early 18th century similarly, the radiator too had its own history. The first heating radiator created by Franz San Galli in 1899 a Prussian born Russian businessman, however, the first car to have a radiator is the Mercedez 35hp designed by Karl Benz and unlike the current radiator design, it is a honeycomb radiator design. Honeycomb radiator design is designed like a tube that was swaged into hexagons at their ends, then stacked together and soldered. As they only touched at their ends, this formed what became in effect a solid water tank with many air tubes through it.

Mercedes 35hp the first car that had the radiator

The honeycomb is not used in the current car design as they are 2 types of modern-day radiator design. One is called as cross flow radiator as it uses tanks that are located on the sides of the radiator core. Another type is the downflow radiator where the tanks are located above and below the radiator core. When opened the bonnet of the car, the car lovers may find these 2 types of the radiator in their car. They are 2 types of material that will be used in the design of the radiator as many vehicles use aluminum radiator cores because of the lightweight and good overall heat transfer associated and some radiator designs use copper or brass for increasing heat transfer and cooling ability. Usually, this type of radiator design is found in the high performance or luxury car.

The honeycomb radiator tubes

Speaking of the radiator tank, it functions to fill in the coolant. The radiator coolant is again a vital thing to keep the engine in an optimal condition. Before the World War 2, the plain water will be used to keep the engine cool. But again, with a continuous innovation to find a better way, the radiator manufacturer had come up with a better coolant to keep the engine at an optimum level. The current modern-day coolant although is just a plain water but it been mixed with an addictive of ethylene glycol (EG) or propylene glycol (PG). The color of the coolant can be red, green, yellow, orange or even pink depending on the car manufacturer.

A radiator coolant from Toyota Motors

This addictive mixed coolant had improved the ability of the radiator to make the engine in an optimum level as in freezing weather conditions, the coolant will still be a liquid and can circulate effectively through the system to cool the engine and prevent damage. And in hot weather or when the car is being operated at peak load for long periods, the coolant will resist boiling and continue to circulate as a liquid, effectively cooling the engine.

The car manufacturer had gone to full length to maintain the engine optimum level where even radiator cap designed to help in this process where it acts as a release valve set to open at the maximum pressure point. Usually, this is set at a density of 15 pounds per square inch (psi). When the fluid pressure inside the radiator exceeds 15 psi, it forces the valve open, allowing heat to escape and excess coolant fluid to overflow into the tanks on either side of the radiator. Once the radiator cools down, the coolant fluid in the overflow tanks gets sucked back into the pump, continuing its route through the cooling system. Due to this design, it is advisable to never open the radiator cap when the engine is hot as the as hot coolant and steam will erupt violently and can burn your face or any part of the skin. It is recommended to open the radiator cap after 15 or 20 minutes after the engine had been turned off.

A radiator cap with a warning sign

If they are some problem with the car engine whether it is cool or overheat, it can be due to the low level of coolant in the reservoir tank, clogged radiator, damaged heat exchanger material, thermostat and some fault in the radiator cap. Any faulty with the radiator is recommended to be fixed in soonest as possible by the expert to ensure the engine is not damaged as it can cause the car loves to break the bank account to fix the engine. Usually, any fault with the radiator will cost less than the faulty engine due to radiator malfunction.

Each component of the engine is carefully built to ensure the car lovers have the smooth and best driving experience and at some time to keep the engine in an optimum level and at the some gave some peace of the mind for the car lovers when they are driving their precious car to any destination. As mentioned earlier the radiator is a vital component to be ignored in the car as it is the component that kept the car engine at an optimum level in any driving situation.



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