An automobile engine operates at a high temperature when it is running, and the engine should be cooled continuously, otherwise, the engine may be damaged due to overheating. This is where, the cooling system of the automobile helps in keeping the engine running at a constant temperature. Read the article to know more about the cooling system of an automobile and how it works.
Engine cooling is done by circulating coolant liquid. The coolant is a substance that absorbs excess heat in the engine’s system and releases it into the atmosphere. Issues in the cooling system may arise when the cooling system has any leaks.
Causes for cooling system leaks
• Radiator coolant leaks: Radiators can develop leaks over a period of time due to wear caused by rusting. The radiator can also be damaged due to stones on the road that might accidentally hit it. Clogged fins in radiator also causes leakage.
• Rubber and plastic hoses fall apart causing leaks: The rubber and plastic hoses connected with the radiator are exposed to heating and cooling. Over time, these hoses may crack and it may result in leaks. It is important to check these hoses regularly because they may look good from outside, but when you press them, you may find cracks.
• Hose clamps become loose and break: The hose connected to the radiator is fitted with clamps to hold the hose firmly. When the clamp weakens, it can no longer work as a sealant and therefore, the coolant leaks.
• Temperature sensor: The temperature sensor may fail due to overheating. This is because the components of thermostat (heat sensor) cannot tolerate high temperature. The failure of temperature sensor causes leaks at the heater core.
• Gasket failure: The gasket is located between the piston cylinder and the engine block. Combustion happens in the cylinder and for this high compression is required. The gasket plays an important role in creating the required pressure. It confines the combustion to the cylinder and makes sure the coolant and the engine oil don’t mix in the combustion chamber.
The gasket wears over time. This results in mixing of the coolant and engine oil, which causes failure of the cooling system.
The right coolant for an automobile
The right coolant for an automobile depends on the general weather and how you use the vehicle. Thus, when your vehicle is idle and the weather is cold, it may result in bursting of the engine block or the radiator, because water in the coolant freezes and expands.
A good coolant should not undergo changes that result in suboptimal function of the engine and should enable the engine function optimally. For example, it should freeze below the freezing point of water (32°F).
• Contains good heat transfer properties: Attributes that bring good heat transfer property include low viscosity, high thermal conductivity, low toxicity, high flashpoint and good thermal stability. These properties are important because, the fluid used is in contact with the surfaces of the components of the system and makes them wet. The compatibility of the fluid with the system is important for optimal function.
• Higher boiling point and lower freezing point than water: This is important because water is one of the constituents of the coolant, and its amount varies according to the coolant used as per climate. When the engine operates, the temperature is 190 to 220 °F and it may come down to 32 °F (in cool weather). Coolants with boiling temperature higher than 220 °F and freezing point lower than 32 °F are ideal.
• Prevents corrosion and erosion: The coolant fluid should not corrode and erode, as it may destroy the components.
The cooling system gets rid of excess heat and protects the engine against overheating. Therefore, it’s sensible to check periodically for its suboptimal function and take remedial measures to avoid overheating.