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Radiators: Cooling System Operation
To remove the heat of combustion, the engine’s cylinders are immersed in a coolant mixture that is typically circulated through the engine and radiator by an engine-driven water pump.
ASE P2 TEST PRIMER: Cooling Systems
Radiators in most late-model vehicles are aluminum with plastic end tanks. Most older vehicles have copper/brass radiators.
Water Pumps Keep It Cool
The water pump circulates coolant between the engine and radiator to manage the engine's waste heat and prevent the engine from overheating.
Keeping Engine Temps In Check
If the cooling system falls behind and fails to keep up with the heat generated by a vehicle's engine, the engine can quickly overheat.
Coolant Doesn't Last Forever
The condition of the coolant can be checked periodically with test strips that change color in response to chemical changes in the coolant.
A/C Compressors Take A Pounding
If an A/C system is found to contain sludge or black gunk, it means everything in the system is contaminated and must either be cleaned or replaced.
Radiators Do Double-Duty
As you might suspect, rust and scale build-up inside the radiator tubes seriously reduce the radiator’s ability to dissipate heat into the atmosphere.
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