Under the Bonnet: A Beginner’s Guide to Car Radiators

You might be more concerned with the temperature on the inside of your car, but did you know that your vehicle produces a great amount of heat every time you drive it? Car radiators control this temperature, a bit like you central heating system at home, and a broken or damaged radiator can have disastrous consequences for your engine.

The radiator in your car is usually located near the front end and is often surrounded by a grille, allowing the warm air out to regulate the temperature of the engine naturally. There are a number of different things you can do to regulate the temperatures, such as using antifreeze to lower the freezing point of the water in the engine to make starting the car easier on cold mornings.

Engines themselves are cooled by passing water through the block where it gets heated, through the radiator where it loses heat out into the air, and then returned to the engine.

Without the radiator, water would simply be heated to such an extent that the engine gets too hot to function. The same can happen when the car radiator is damaged or broken, as water leaking away means that there is nothing to cool it down.

Radiators are also used to cool other vital car lubricants and fluids, such as transmission fluid and power steering fluid. Obviously, the warmer the oil is the easier it will flow around the various systems, but the temperature needs regulating to prevent it from boiling. You can check out our range of car lubricants and fluids in our online store to find the one most suitable for your car.

Why You Need to Check Car Radiators Once a Month

Your engine coolant levels are important to monitor, as a sudden increase in temperature could mean that there isn’t enough coolant to pass through the radiator and engine. Coolant is usually a combination of antifreeze and water, and a low coolant level is a clear sign that an engine may be about to overheat, which is why experts suggest that you should top-up (or at least check) your coolant once a month.

It’s worth noting at this point, however, that you should never open the radiator cap when the engine is hot, as you risk being scalded by any water or steam that escapes.

The water pump is one of the most important car parts, especially in relation to cooling and heating your car. Its primary purpose is to move water and coolant around the engine, but it can wear out over time. A common sign of a broken, worn or damaged water pump is an increase in temperature according to your water gauge, which should never move too far beyond the 90-degree mark.

Heating the Interior

Of course, there is more than one radiator located under your bonnet. While one is significantly larger than the others, different cars have varying numbers of radiators with some there to specifically cool particular fluids (especially in the expensive sports cars like the Bugatti Veyron).

When you switch on the heater in your car or adjust the temperature this is also done through car radiators. It works in a similar way to that in your home. It emits the warm air you need by taking the warm air from the engine and recirculating it into the inside of your car.

Euro Car Parts are the UK’s number one supplier of car parts and accessories with more than 190 branches nationwide, all offering free delivery. We understand that not everybody is comfortable getting under the bonnet and working on such important parts of their car.

For those who are – or who want to make sure that they get the best car parts and accessories available – you can contact us for advice on the best replacement parts for your broken or damaged car radiators.