While there are still a few air-cooled automobiles on the roads the good majority out there these days are of the liquid cooled variety. Those driving an old Karmann Ghia or a pre-98 Porsche 911 can take the time spent reading this series of articles on the automotive cooling system and instead check their oil frequently. The rest of the liquid cooled vehicle owners out there have three important components under the hood that take the heat out of an internal combustion engine. The radiator, the water pump, and the thermostat. Between all of these components are flexible rubber hoses that transfer the liquid engine coolant.
The burning of gasoline, diesel, or corn cakes, produces heat from the instant an engine starts. This heat must be channeled away so the engine can keep spinning instead of fusing itself together. Surrounding the cylinders in which the pistons and valves do their internal combustion act is a jacket that contains engine coolant. The coolant transfers heat from the engine and is then circulated through the cooling system by way of a water pump. Coolant travels out of the engine, and through one rubber hose into the radiator. The radiator allows heat to pass from the coolant into the surrounding air, and presto! The coolant returns back to the engine through another rubber hose cooler than when it left.