The Cooling System – Understanding Your Car’s System Better

Nov 11, 2019 | Articles, The Cooling System – Understanding Your Car’s System Better

The Cooling System.

The cooling system is one of the car’s systems that may carry with it some baggage of misconception. This article aims at clearing up some misconceptions about the cooling system. We hope that this will help you to better look after your pride and joy. In order to clear up the misconception, we have to ask (and hopefully sufficiently answer) a few questions. Let us fall in the road with the first question. Why does your car need a cooling system at all?

Extracting the energy from the fuel requires burning it. This generates heat that has to be dispersed in some way or another. It should be kept in mind that only a portion of the fuel is converted into kilowatts. Indeed, less than a third of the energy in petrol is converted to actual kilowatts. This is then only about 30% of the total energy in the fuel. What happens to the other 70% that is available to power the wheels?

That energy is lost in the form of heat energy, either through friction, the exhaust system, or through the radiator. Think for a moment about the quad-turbocharged, 16-cylinder, 8-liter engine in a car such as the Bugatti Chiron. This car actually generates 3677 kW, of which only 1103 kW is generated at the crankshaft. The mammoth difference, which is 2573 kW, is lost as combustion, exhaust, and friction heat. It needs an array of large-capacity radiators to deal with the immense heat of the engine and turbochargers. Coming back to the cooling system, a car needs this to keep its engine in the optimum operating temperature range.

The radiator

The radiator needs to contain enough coolant to cool an engine down. Especially an engine that works at maximum capacity (full-throttle) on a hot day at a high altitude. It should, therefore, have excess coolant under normal driving conditions. Under these conditions, a lot of coolant is prevented from circulating through the engine.

Read more about the cooling system and the importance of coolant here.

The thermostat prevents this because running an engine too cool is very bad. Why? Because it will increase friction and wear and hurts efficiency. The thermostat will only open when it requires more coolant. It stays closed on a cold start, so that as little coolant as possible circulates. The engine can then warm up quickly. It stands to reason that it is a very bad idea to remove a thermostat from a cooling system. Always ensure that your coolant consists of the correct ratio of anti-freeze and water. Consult your car’s owner’s manual in this regard. The anti-freeze is necessary to raise the boiling point and lower the freezing point of the coolant. It also assists in combatting corrosion.

Modified cars and heat

Modified cars, especially those with turbochargers, can generate a lot more heat when working hard. Cars such as these may be very harsh on the design limits of the car’s cooling system. You may find that the thermostat is fully open and the electric fan is running. The temperature, however, cannot be brought under control. What are you to do? Well, you will have to fit a larger radiator.

Will you require an extra radiator to assist the cooling system whenever you fit a Unichip? Absolutely not. When you fit a Unichip to a naturally aspirated car, you modify nothing. The Unichip merely optimises the engine settings to its best yet safest levels. The cooling system will be able to carry the extra power increase that the Unichip unleash. It is therefore highly unlikely that the extra heat will pose a problem. The Unichip remains the safest way to optimise your car’s engine. With the Unichip, there is almost always room for vehicle improvement. Practice responsible car care. Become part of the Unichip family and buy your Unichip today. Click here to contact us.



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