A radiator overflow tank collects the expanding coolant that is heated by the engine and recycles it back into the coolant system once it loses enough heat. The radiator overflow tank works in conjunction with the radiator cap to protect the engine and prevent coolant loss due to overflow, according to HowStuffWorks.Know More
The radiator overflow tank serves as the reservoir for engine coolant that is heated to its boiling point and would otherwise rise up and out of the radiator. Working in conjunction with a thermally activated spring built into the cap, the overflow tank creates a closed cooling system that is much more reliable and practical than previous designs. As the temperature and pressure rise to the coolant's boiling point under pressure, the cap spring activates and allows the heated liquid to flow up and into the overflow tank. The fact that the system is under pressure means that the liquid reaches a higher temperature before boiling, further increasing the effectiveness of the system.
Prior to the advent of effective closed systems, large mechanical fans were used to cool most engines, though they had their drawbacks. Mechanical fans were ideal for driving at low speeds but actually cooled engines too much at high speeds. The solution was the advent of electric fans that turned on and off as the engine temperature rose and fell. Most modern vehicles and mechanical engines employ a combination of an electric fan and a closed cooling system.Learn More
It is recommended that engine coolant be changed seasonally. In order to work properly, an engine's cooling system and radiator need to be clean. After time, deposits build up and can clog the radiator. Changing engine coolant seasonally helps keep the cooling system clean.Full Answer >
If engine oil ends up in the radiator, it usually is due to a cracked head or blown head gasket. If the crack is adjacent to the oil pump, the resultant pressure can blow either the radiator or a cooling hose.Full Answer >
While manufacturers use different types of coolant-level sensors, the simplest is a float that activates a switch. If the coolant drops below the designated level, the switch opens, sending a signal to the indicator light. Manufacturers install these switches either in the coolant recovery tank or in the radiator. Regardless of the type of sensor, it should cause the light to illuminate if the level drops.Full Answer >
The most common reason for a coolant temperature gauge not working is a problem with the coolant temperature sensor. Signs of a bad sensor include black smoke in the exhaust, a car using more gas than usual or a car overheating frequently. The check engine light also comes on when there is a problem with the coolant temperature sensor.Full Answer >