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A 4-cylinder vehicle driving at about 50 miles per hour will produce 4,000 controlled explosions per minute inside the engine as the spark plugs ignite the fuel in each cylinder while driving. This does produce a great amount of heat. If this heat is not controlled, it can damage the engine quickly. High temperatures are controlled by the cooling system.
Current cooling system have not changed much from the basic systems created in the 1920’s. Today’s systems are more reliable and efficient, but the basic cooling system still consists of liquid coolant being circulated through the engine, then out to the radiator to be cooled by the air stream coming through the front grill of the vehicle.
Today’s cooling system is required to maintain a constant engine temperature whether the outside air temperature is 110 or 0. If the engine temperature gets too low, your fuel economy will suffer, and outgoing emissions will rise. If the temperature reaches a level that is too hot you can experience engine damage and costly repairs.
A cooling system works by sending coolant through the engine block and heads. As the coolant passes through, it picks up heat from the engine. The heated fluid then makes its way through a hose to the radiator. As it passes through, the hot liquid is cooled by the air stream entering the engine compartment through the vehicles front grill.
Once the fluid is cooled, it returns to the engine to absorb more heat. The water pump has the job of keeping the fluid moving through this system.
Thethermostat is there to make sure that the coolant stays above a certain temperature. If the coolant temperature falls below the needed temperature, the thermostat blocks the coolant flow to the radiator, and directs it back to the engine. The coolant will continue to circulate until it reaches the correct temperature, allowing the thermostat to open directing the coolant back through the radiator.
To prevent the coolant from boiling, the cooling system is designed to be pressurized. Under pressure, the boiling point of the coolant is raised considerably. Too much pressure can cause a hose and other parts to break if the pressure is not released.
This is where the radiator cap comes into play. It is designed release pressure if it reaches and excessive level. In early models, the radiator cap would release the extra pressure downward to the pavement. Since then, a system was added to capture any released fluid and store it temporarily in a reserve tank. This liquid now returns to the cooling system after the engine cooled down.
Our team at Tucker Tire and Auto are always here to help and answer any questions you may have. The more you understand your vehicle the more we can do together to keep your driving safe.
Until next time...
"Diagnosed the problem, replaced the bad hose and finished the entire service within 2 hours. They were honest and fair with the price. No hidden fees added. Traveled from Anthem to have truck serviced as I use to bring old vehicle here. Worth the drive to be treated so nicely and to have honest work done. They are my #1 go to people for servicing. I highly recommend them to all who read this." Rich S., May 2017