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Cooling System Components

What Makes Up Your Cooling System: Cooling System Components


People in our business take it for granted that everyone knows what components a cooling system is comprised of. Yet on a regular basis we run across people who have no clue.


One of our goals here at Champion Cooling is to educate people on our products and why they might want or need them. Since our radiator is the largest component of a cooling system, we thought we'd prepare a quick primer on the working parts of your car's cooling system.
Champion Cooling Systems Aluminum Radiator

  1. RADIATOR:  The radiator circulates water and/or anti-freeze through a system of tubes in the core of your radiator. These tubes have fins, which allow air to pass through and thus cool and dissipate the heat generated by the engine. Older vehicles were equipped with copper-brass radiators, while newer cars come with radiators comprised of plastic tanks and aluminum cores. When an original copper-brass radiator fails, many people now opt to replace it with a lighter, more efficient all-aluminum radiator.

  3. WATER PUMP: Draws the cooled anti-freeze from the radiator and pumps it through the engine block, cylinder head(s), heater core and back to the radiator.

  5. FREEZE PLUGS: A freeze plug is actually a steel plug designed to seal holes in the engine block and cylinder head(s) created from the casting process. In freezing weather they may push out if there is not enough anti-freeze protection.

  7. HEAD GASKET /TIMING COVER GASKET: Seals the major parts of the engine. Prevents oil, anti-freeze and cylinder pressure from mixing together.

  9. HEATER CORE: Provides heat to the interior of the car by using heat removed from the antifreeze and blown in by the blower motor. May cause steam, odor or actual dripping inside the car when it leaks.

    [caption id="attachment_3550" align="alignright" width="212"]cooling system thermostat Wikipedia[/caption]

  11. THERMOSTAT: Controls the minimum operating temperature of the engine. The thermostat is closedwhen the engine is cold in order to speed warm-up and opens when normal operating temperature is reached to allow the anti-freeze / coolant to pass through the radiator.

  13. HOSES (Radiator, Heater, By-pass): Connect the other main components of the cooling system. Hose manufacturers recommend replacing every 4 years regardless of appearance because there may be deterioration of the inside of the hose which cannot be seen.

  15. A-FAN CLUTCH: Senses the temperature of the air coming through the radiator and either slips or binds up to pull the required amount of air through the radiator.
  16. Champion electric cooling fan

  17. ELECTRIC COOLING FAN: Radiator Cooling Fans are used to force additional air through the Radiator Core from the outside. Radiator Fans can be used as Pushers or Pullers. A Pusher configuration is simply set up to push air through the Core. A Puller, to pull air through the Radiator Core. A variety of variables and factors will determine how the Radiator Fan will be used in the setup and installation process. A Temperature Sensor or Thermostatic Switch controls when the Radiator Cooling Fan or Fans will turn on and off.


To learn more about cooling systems, be sure to visit our Glossary Page.