How does a car cooling system work?

I think there may be a problem with my car’s cooling system, but I’m not entirely sure how it works! I’ve just been getting some weird warnings on my dash and I want to check them out before the problem gets worse. How does a cooling system normally function?

Answer
Most car cooling systems work via liquid cooling using antifreeze. The different elements of a typical car cooling system are:
  • Various passages inside the engine block
  • A network of hoses that transfer the coolant from the engine to the radiator and the heater system
  • A radiator that cools the coolant
  • A radiator cap that controls the pressure
  • A water pump that circulates the coolant
  • A thermostat that controls the temperature of the coolant
The cooling system will send the coolant through the passages inside the engine block and heads. It picks up the heat from the engine, then moves through the hose system to the radiator, which uses the air stream from the grill in front of the car to cool the coolant. Then, the coolant will be pumped back into the engine, and the process starts over.
If you’ve noticed some warning lights on your dash, it might be worth asking a mechanic about the problem, as an overheated engine could cause your car to break down.
While you’re taking some time to learn more about your car, why not take an extra minute to save money on your car insurance? The Jerry app makes it easy to find the best rates available to you. Just download the app and answer some quick questions. In less than a minute, you’ll be able to choose from a comprehensive list of competitive quotes for policies similar to your current one!
Liz Jenson
Answered on Nov 30, 2021
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