Yes, dropping the coolant level is normal, especially when the engine temperature is extremely high. The temperature changes try to regulate the temperature to prevent the engine from overheating or freezing.
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How Does Car Cooling System Work?
This video explains that a car has an internal combustion engine that involves high temperature and high-pressure gasses to generate power. A car cooling system is comprised of the following parts:
- Water pump
- Coolant temperature sensor
The car coolant is a mixture of tap water, ethylene glycol (an anti-freezing substance), and protection additives such as silicate, antioxidant agents, and foam inhibitors. Also, the coolant color can be green, blue, or yellow.
A water pump delivers the coolant, and connected to it is the thermostat, which regulates the flow of the coolant using a valve. The thermostat’s bypass valve remains open whenever the engine is cold, which keeps the coolant flow through the radiator for the coolant to recirculate in the engine.
The coolant temperature will increase as it absorbs the heat from the engine as it recirculates. Also, the increase in coolant temperature will cause the thermostat’s bypass valve to close, and its main valve will open.
Generally, the cold coolant from the radiator will then flow to the engine, and the hot coolant is brought back to the radiator. You can find the coolant temperature sensor near the thermostat housing, and functions to turn on the radiator fan if it senses the hot coolant coming from the radiator side.
Then the radiator with hot coolant flowing through it will transfer the excess heat to the atmosphere using its fan. As the excess heat from the coolant is released into the atmosphere, the cold coolant from the radiator to the engine will absorb heat. Thus, repeating the cycle.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a coolant for?
A coolant is used in your car engine as part of its cooling system, where it prevents the engine from getting damaged by freezing or overheating. The coolant flowing from the cooling system to the engine will absorb its heat and prevent the water from boiling during the summer.
Is coolant the same as antifreeze?
Coolant is similar to the antifreeze but not the same. Antifreeze is a glycol-based liquid and must need to be diluted with water first before use.
Additionally, the coolant is the result of the mixture of antifreeze, composed of water and ethylene glycol (50:50 ratio).
The ethylene glycol in the antifreeze prevents the coolant to liquid from freezing in your radiator.
How to check and test your coolant?
Your car engine needs a coolant to prevent overheating or enduring sub-zero temperatures. But the quality of your coolant can affect its operation within the cooling system with the car engine.
You can check the quality of your coolant by looking if its liquid is clear or particles are floating around, regardless of what color the coolant has. For an all-year-round optimal use of the coolant, it should have a 50:50 ratio for its mixture.
Adding too much water can cause an uneven mixture ratio, weakening the coolant’s protection level from extreme temperatures.
Another way of checking if your coolant protection level is to use coolant test strips:
- Dip the partial strip into the coolant to get a sample
- It will change its color and use the reference on the side of the bottle that came with it to see what the color indicates.
Why does coolant have different colors?
The color of the coolant indicates the types of chemicals used to prevent corrosion:
- Blue or green – older types of coolants that used Inorganic Additive Technology (IAT)
- Orange – Organic Acid Technology (OAT) coolants offer a five-year or 100,000-mile change interval. They can also be combined with IAT and are regarded as hybrids.
- Yellow – a Prestone coolant that offers a 10-year or 300,000-mile change interval