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What Is an Automotive Radiator ?

What Is an Automotive Radiator ?
2020-04-18

Your radiator is an integral part of your car or truck's cooling system. It allows the immense heat generated by your engine to be dissipated more easily into the air, keeping the engine running at its optimal temperature. A problem with your radiator can be a big problem for the overall functioning of your car, truck, or SUV. Although the operating principles for an automotive radiator are fairly straightforward, there are a lot of fine details you may want to know if you're having any trouble with your radiator.


Before we get to anything more complicated, let's start with the basics. The radiator is at the front of your car or truck's engine bay, behind the grille. It attaches to a large metal frame called the radiator core support. This, in turn, is connected to the frame of the vehicle. The radiator is usually attached by a pair of brackets at the top, and rests on a set of rubber bushings at the bottom.


The radiator itself consists of a number of tubes through which coolant flows. The tubes are in between two tanks that hold coolant at the inlet and outlet. Attached to these tubes in the radiator core are fins, which radiate heat into the air (hence the name). These can be made of different types of conductive metals designed with different number of cooling areas or cores, and have different coolant flow patterns all with their own particular advantages and disadvantages (but let's not get ahead of ourselves).

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