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What is a Radiator in Cars?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 15/04/2024

Car ownership involves more than simply hitting the open road; it also entails taking care of your car's longevity and general condition. The car's radiator is one of the many delicate parts that keep your car running smoothly and is essential to keeping the engine cool.

The majority of individuals may know what a radiator is, but they might not understand its significance.

The radiator is the main part of a car's cooling system. Its main job is to keep an eye on the engine temperature, adjust it as needed, and protect it from overheating. Continue reading to know more about radiators in a car.

What is a Radiator in a Car?

The engine of your car is activated once you start it. Additionally, your engine car burns fuel and produces a lot of energy while you enjoy smooth journeys. Now, the car generates a lot of heat throughout this action. Furthermore, if this heat builds up quickly, it could harm your car.

This is where the best radiators come into play; they do their magic to prevent the buildup of excess heat and avoid resulting harm. It functions by dissipating excess heat generated during the combustion process, preventing the engine from overheating. It consists of thin metal fins and a fan, which work together to remove heat and cool your car's engine.

Structure of a Radiator

Core: The core of the radiator is typically made of aluminium or copper. It consists of numerous small tubes and fins that facilitate heat exchange. These tubes carry coolant from the engine through the radiator, while the fins increase the surface area for heat dissipation.

Tanks: The core is connected to tanks on either side. These tanks are usually made of plastic or aluminium and serve as reservoirs for coolant. One tank receives coolant from the engine, while the other returns cooled coolant back to the engine.

Inlet and Outlet: The radiator has inlet and outlet ports through which coolant flows. The hot coolant from the engine enters through the inlet port and circulates through the tubes of the core, where it releases heat. The cooled coolant then exits the radiator through the outlet port, ready to be recirculated through the engine.

Pressure Cap: The radiator is equipped with a pressure cap, also known as a radiator cap, which seals the system and helps maintain the correct pressure level. This pressure raises the boiling point of the coolant, preventing it from vaporising and ensuring efficient heat transfer.

Transmission Cooler: In some vehicles, especially those with automatic transmissions, the radiator may contain an integrated transmission cooler. This cooler helps regulate the temperature of the transmission fluid, preventing overheating and ensuring smooth operation of the transmission.

Signs of Failing Radiator

When the radiator begins to fail, several signs may indicate impending problems:

**Overheating:**One of the most apparent signs of a failing or malfunctioning radiator is overheating of the engine. If the engine temperature is repeatedly higher than normal or if you notice any other signs of overheating like steam coming out from under the hood, it's likely that the radiator isn't functioning properly.

Coolant Leaks: Check for puddles of coolant underneath the vehicle after it has been parked. Coolant is usually bright green, orange, or pink in colour, and its presence indicates a leak in the radiator or one of its hoses. Sometimes, the leak may not be visible from the outside, but you may encounter a smell in the cabin or white smoke coming from the exhaust, both of which can indicate coolant entering the combustion chamber.

Low Coolant Levels: If you frequently have to top up the coolant reservoir, it could be a sign of a radiator leak. Low coolant levels mean the system isn't holding onto the coolant as it should, which can lead to overheating.

Visible Damage: Inspect the radiator for visible signs of damage such as cracks, corrosion, or rust. These can weaken the radiator's structure and cause leaks. Additionally, damaged radiator fins may restrict airflow, reducing the radiator's efficiency.

Inefficient Cooling: If you notice that your engine takes longer to reach normal operating temperature or if the heater doesn't produce enough heat, it could be a sign that the radiator isn't effectively cooling the engine or transferring heat to the cabin.

Strange Noise: A failing radiator may produce unusual noises such as hissing or gurgling sounds, especially when the engine is running. These noises can indicate air pockets or fluid circulation issues within the cooling system.

Tips to Increase Car Radiator’s Life

Increasing the lifespan of your car's radiator is essential for maintaining optimal engine performance and preventing costly repairs.

Here are some tips to help you extend the life of your car radiator:

Regular Maintenance: Just like any other component of your vehicle, the radiator requires regular maintenance. This includes checking coolant levels, inspecting for leaks, and ensuring proper fluid mixture. Regular maintenance can prevent corrosion and other issues that can lead to radiator failure.

Coolant Checks: Coolant, also known as antifreeze, plays a critical role in regulating your engine's temperature. Ensure that the coolant level is always within the recommended range and that the mixture of coolant and water is correct. This helps prevent overheating and corrosion within the radiator.

Flush the Radiator: Over time, contaminants and debris can build up inside the radiator, reducing its efficiency. Periodically flushing the radiator helps remove these deposits and ensures proper coolant circulation. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the frequency of radiator flushes.

Inspect for Leaks: Even minor leaks in the radiator or associated hoses can lead to significant issues over time. Regularly inspect the radiator and hoses for signs of leaks, such as puddles of coolant underneath the vehicle or visible damage to the hoses. Addressing leaks promptly can prevent more extensive damage to the radiator.

Protect from Corrosion: Corrosion can significantly shorten the lifespan of your radiator. Consider using a corrosion inhibitor or coolant additive specifically designed to protect against rust and corrosion. These products form a protective barrier inside the radiator, extending its longevity.

Avoid Overheating: Excessive heat is one of the primary causes of radiator failure. Avoid driving your vehicle under conditions that may lead to overheating, such as towing heavy loads in hot weather or driving with a malfunctioning cooling system. If your engine starts to overheat, pull over safely and address the issue immediately to prevent damage to the radiator and other components.

Drive Carefully: Rough driving or driving on rough terrain, can damage the radiator and associated components. Drive carefully to avoid unnecessary stress on the radiator and prolong its lifespan.

Importance of Car Insurance

Car insurance plays a pivotal role in safeguarding both drivers and their vehicles against unexpected financial liabilities arising from accidents, theft, or damage. It provides a safety net that ensures peace of mind while on the road.

Additionally, third-party car insurance is legally mandated in many jurisdictions, emphasising its significance in protecting not only individuals but also other road users. When considering car insurance options, it's essential to compare car insurance policies to find the most suitable coverage at a competitive price.

This is where reputable insurers like Tata AIG come into play. Offering comprehensive four-wheeler insurance plans, Tata AIG stands out for its commitment to providing reliable coverage tailored to individual needs.

By comparing car insurance options, drivers can make informed decisions, ensuring they get the best car insurance price for their money while securing adequate protection for their vehicles.


How does a radiator work?

The radiator circulates coolant (usually a mixture of water and antifreeze) through its network of tubes and fins. As the hot coolant flows through the radiator, heat is transferred to the surrounding air, cooling the liquid before it returns to the engine.

What is the average radiator coolant price?

The cost of radiator coolant in India typically ranges from around ₹100 to ₹500 per litre, depending on the brand, quality, and specific requirements such as concentrated or pre-diluted coolant.

Why is it important to maintain the coolant and radiator system?

Proper maintenance of the coolant and radiator system is crucial for engine performance and longevity. Neglecting this system can lead to overheating, engine damage, and costly repairs.

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