The best will always be to prevent, for this we recommend the regular use of VR-12, but if you already have problems with your cooling system this information may be useful.
In automobiles and motorcycles with a liquid-cooled internal combustion engine, a radiator is connected to channels running through the engine and cylinder head, through which a liquid (coolant) is pumped. This liquid may be water (in climates where water is unlikely to freeze), but is more commonly a mixture of water and antifreeze in proportions appropriate to the climate. Antifreeze itself is usually ethylene glycol or propylene glycol (with a small amount of corrosion inhibitor).
A typical automotive cooling system comprises:
- a series of channels cast into the engine block and cylinder head, surrounding the combustion chambers with circulating liquid to carry away heat;
- a radiator, consisting of many small tubes equipped with a honeycomb of fins to convect heat rapidly, that receives and cools hot liquid from the engine;
- a water pump, usually of the centrifugal type, to circulate the liquid through the system;
- a thermostat to control temperature by varying the amount of liquid going to the radiator;
- a fan to draw fresh air through the radiator.
The radiator transfers the heat from the fluid inside to the air outside, thereby cooling the fluid, which in turn cools the engine. Radiators are also often used to cool automatic transmission fluids, air conditioner refrigerant, intake air, and sometimes to cool motor oil or power steering fluid. Radiators are typically mounted in a position where they receive airflow from the forward movement of the vehicle, such as behind a front grill. Where engines are mid- or rear-mounted, it is common to mount the radiator behind a front grill to achieve sufficient airflow, even though this requires long coolant pipes. Alternatively, the radiator may draw air from the flow over the top of the vehicle or from a side-mounted grill. For long vehicles, such as buses, side airflow is most common for engine and transmission cooling and top airflow most common for air conditioner cooling.