64 engines cooling system

engines cooling system


By Vukasin Herbez on 2018-07-06 17:02:14

Regardless of the type of fuel it uses, every internal combustion engine generates an excessive amount of heat while operating. While in motion, pistons create an extensive amount of friction despite being lubricated and if not controlled, that heat could melt the engine and cause it to seize and stop. That is why the cooling system is one of the most important components of the car´s engine. Not only it prevents it from failing, it also helps heat the car‘s interior and make driving much more comfortable. Today, we will explain to you the basic parts and how the system works.

1. Air Cooling

The air cooling system is an almost forgotten way of cooling the engine and it was used in some classic cars like Volkswagen Beetle or classic Porsche 911, but it was put out of production decades ago. The system was very simple and included a belt driven fan which turned constantly sending waves of cold air into the engine block, cooling it down. The system was pretty trouble proof since it didn‘t have many elements. However, it proved insufficient since it couldn´t cope with the amount of excess heat modern engines make. Air cooling is still present on some motorcycle engines but not in automotive production.

2. Water Cooling

The water cooling system is as old as the car itself and has been basically unchanged since. It includes a radiator mounted on the front of the car, a system of hoses which connects it with the engine‘s block, belt driven radiator fan, thermostat and water pump.

The basic principle is quite simple and requires the system to be filled with cooling liquid (distilled water or specific cooling liquid) which circulates between the engine block and radiator. The water pump which is also belt-driven provides constant pressure and allows the flow of the liquid through the system. While running, and even on idle, an engine generates heat. The liquid running through the block in specially designed channels between cylinders cools down the block and sends warm water to the radiator where it is cooled via passing air.

In case there is too much heat or the engine is in high revs for a longer period of time and the cooling system cannot cope with the amount of heat, the thermostat turns on the radiator fan and starts turning it, providing additional air flow through the radiator which helps cool down the engine. The ideal working temperature of most modern engines is in 80 to 90 degrees Celsius range which means that the cooling liquid is near its boiling temperature.

The size of the car‘s radiator and displacement of the cooling system is proportional to the car‘s engine size which means that big engines need big cooling systems since they generate a lot of heat. Also, a small displacement engine doesn‘t need big radiators since the amount of heat they create is relatively small.

The car‘s cooling system is also responsible for heating the interior since it includes a heater core which is heated by the cooling fluid before it is sent to the radiator. The heater core uses warm liquid to heat up and sends warm air through the vents on the dashboard. This is why when you turn on the heat in a cold winter morning, only cold air comes out at first, but after a while, when the engine has generated some amount of heat, warm air starts heating the cabin.

To prevent the cooling system from failing and your engine from overheating, always check for leaks and cooling liquid residue. If the system loses all the liquid there will be nothing to cool down the engine and it will overheat and seize in a few minutes. That is why it is important to keep the eye on the temperature gauge and always check the radiator and rubber hoses.


The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
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