Car Engine Coolant And How It Works
What is the coolant in a car?
Coolant is a fluid that keeps your engine running at optimum temperature. It prevents the engine from overheating, freezing, and metal corrosion.
WHAT DOES ENGINE COOLANT DO?
The engine coolant, in some geolocations better known as antifreeze, protects engines from overheating. But this is not the only task that engine coolant does – it also takes care of the lubrication process as it greases up the engine’s moving parts preventing the damage of the head gasket, the water pump, the cylinder, piston timing
Coolants transfer and optimize the heat in the engine and deploy antifreeze protection in order for your vehicle’s engine to keep running in optimal condition. Since the internal combustion engine generates energy through the process of burning fuel, portions of this energy in the form of heat inevitably end up being harnessed by the engine and its parts themselves. The rest is emitted through the exhaust system.
The role of the engine coolant is to prevent engine failures related to overheating and to keep the engine running at optimal temperatures.
Using the right engine coolant type and mixture provides the following benefits:
1. The freezing of the coolant in cold temperatures is mitigated.
2. The boiling of the coolant in high temperatures is prevented.
3. Corrosion prevention.
4. The clogging induced by rust particles is prevented.
5. Prevented wear of rubber and plastic engine parts.
6. The corrosion-induced electrolysis is mitigated.
How Does Car Engine Coolant Work?
Car coolant is located in a reservoir affixed to the radiator before it’s introduced to the engine block and its components.
Engine coolant is used in conjunction with a liquid cooling system. The liquid cooling system is made up of several components.
1. The water pump, or coolant pump, circulates coolant throughout the system.
2. The radiator conducts heat away from the coolant.
3. Radiator hoses connect the parts of the cooling system.
4. The fan pulls air through the radiator when the vehicle is not moving fast enough to move the air.
5. The thermostat controls the temperature of the coolant.
When the engine’s running, the coolant continuously circulates through the engine and back through the radiator. The coolant exits from the bottom of the radiator after it’s cooled. It’s then drawn into the water pump, which pumps it into the engine’s block and head, where it absorbs the excess heat to control the engine temperature. The coolant is then returned to the top of the radiator where it’s cooled again.
Reasons for Using A Coolant Over Water
Why is the coolant so important to engines: Engines consist of a lot of moving parts. These movements cause friction and friction produces heat. Heat is a major source of energy losses. Energy cannot be created; the energy input and output would be different which means the operation will be inefficient.
Apart from efficiency, there are safe temperatures for engines to run, exceeding which could damage the equipment or result in fire. This is the reason cars shut down automatically if they ever become overheated.
This is the reason it is necessary to have a fluid running inside the vessels of the engine that absorbs heat, carries it away from the engine and then cools itself in a radiator. Here are a few reasons why we use coolant fluids in cars and other engines.
1. Impurities: Impurities in the tap water can segment on the bottom surface of the engine or settle down at the bottom causing it to jam or clog.
2. Corrosiveness: Water is corrosive. It can easily rust or corrode the internal metal parts of the engine. Rust will reduce the engine’s life and destroy it. On the other hand, coolants have components that are anti rust and prevent corrosion. They form a protective layer on the surface of the metal, which prevents it from reacting with the air and forming oxides.
3. Freezing Point: Most coolants have additional antifreeze properties. It requires adding certain elements to the coolant that lower its freezing point. This is beneficial in the areas where temperatures fall below zero. Water freezes at zero degrees Celsius and as the temperature falls further, it expands. This expansion can break the vessels where it runs and rupture the hoses of the car’s cooling system This is why you need an anti-freeze coolant that does not freeze well below zero degrees Celsius.
4. Boiling Point: Coolant has a higher heat capacity than water. This means it will require more heat energy to reach the same temperature that water can reach with much less energy. Components in the coolant also raise its boiling point making it safer for operation in the engine. Non-boiling fluid can run through the engine vessels more appropriately.
5. The Bottom Line: If you have been using only water in your radiator, you might want to flush it out and use a coolant instead. Depending on the area, you live in and the condition of your engine, you can always mix water with the coolant. It will retain its properties to an extent. Whenever you plan to re-charge the coolant, it is always better to choose coolants from Kamsi Parts
How Is Car Engine Coolant Supplied To The Engine Block?
The cooling system of the car is driven by an auxiliary belt attached to the crankshaft pulley. The impeller blades together with the centrifugal force move the cooled water into the water jacket around the engine’s cylinder.
The cooled water once flowed through the water jackets around the engine then flowed through the hoses to the radiator. By this time, the coolant is not cold anymore; the temperature of the water has increased due to heat transfer from the engine to the water.
Now, the radiator fins allow the air from the atmosphere to cool the water again; the water flows back to the start of the coolant cycle and starts the process.
Types Of Car Engine Coolants For Cars
Each car is manufactured differently, hence each requires a different type of coolant to control the optimal temperature for the normal functioning of the vehicle. Generally, there are three types. These car coolants differ in colours as well:
1. INORGANIC ADDITIVE TECHNOLOGY (IAT): IAT coolant is usually of green colour and is used in older cars, which had the cooling system made out of brass, cast iron and rubber parts. This type of coolant needs to be changed every two years or after 24,000 miles.
2. ORGANIC ACID TECHNOLOGY (OAT): OAT coolant comes in orange, yellow, red or purple colours. It is used commonly in vehicles manufactured by General Motors. OAT needs to be changed after five years or after 50,000 miles.
3. HYBRID ORGANIC ACID TECHNOLOGY (HOAT): HOAT coolant as the name suggests provides the benefits of both OAT and IAT coolants. HOAT coolant usually comes in yellow and orange colour. HOAT requires change after 50,000 miles or after five years unless otherwise specified. Some car manufacturers specify change after 10 years or 150,000 miles.
Hybrid And Electric Vehicle Cooling Systems
Hybrid and electric cars have a separate cooling system for the battery pack. For such vehicles, you can only use coolants specified by the automakers. Give your car’s owner manual a good read to know what specific requirements the coolant has to meet mentioned by the auto manufacturer.
How To Know Which Car Engine Coolant Is Right For Your Car?
You cannot decide which coolant to put in your car’s water pump on your own. Ask your car’s dealership to let you know the coolant for the specific make and model of car you’re driving to guarantee the safety of your engine.
Things To Remember When Buying Car Engine Coolants
1. Never identify the coolant type with its colour. Both OAT and HOAT come in orange and yellow colours, hence you can misidentify the right coolant for your car.
2. Two different cars from the same manufacturer can each have a different type of coolant.
3. When buying a used car, make sure you perform a cooling system flush first before filling the cooling system with the coolant to factory-recommended one. This is important as you never know the previous owner might have used another coolant at some point in the life of the vehicle.
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