When a vehicle is stalled at the side of the road with smoke puffs exiting from the radiator, it probably has a defective cooling system. The cooling system is one of the most important components of your vehicle as it helps to keep the vehicle’s temperature at the perfect level. Why is this important? If the temperature of the vehicle is too low, it will decrease your fuel efficiency. If the temperature is too high, then you will run into problems with the engine, causing your vehicle to overheat and stall.
Why do we need a cooling system? Each time you drive, your vehicle generates a large amount of heat around the engine. It is the cooling system that helps to keep the engine cool, preventing it from overheating. How does it work? The cooling fluid that you put into your vehicle is circulated throughout the pipes in the engine each time you drive. As it is circulating, the heat that is being created is absorbed. Then, the fluid exits the engine and heads towards the radiator (also known as the heat exchanger) and into the air.
Cooling System Components
There are many different parts that contribute to the efficiency of your cooling system. Included within these are the radiator, the water pump, the hoses, the fan, the pressure cap, the thermostat, and the cooling fluid. Let’s take a brief look at the function of each of these.
• Radiator – Many people refer to the radiator as the “brains” of the cooling system. It aides in regulating the vehicle’s temperature by allowing the coolant fluid to travel through the tubes within it.
• The pressure cap – The pressure cap is also known as the “pressure release valve” as it allows it allows the pressure that is built up to escape.
• The water pump – Just as the hoses and belts do, the water pump helps the coolant to circulate throughout the system.
• The thermostat – The thermostat helps to monitor the temperature of the engine. If the temperature gets too high, it is the job of the thermostat to send the signal for more coolant. If malfunctioning, the vehicle may overheat.
• The fan – It is also the job of the fan to help maintain a constant temperature within the engine.
When your vehicle’s cooling system fails, your vehicle is at a significantly increased risk for overheating. As such, it is extremely important that you perform regular maintenance tasks to keep your cooling system in good condition.
See our post about The Importance of your Electrical System.