Coolant or antifreeze, whatever we might call- it is the guardian angel of your car’s engine. It helps to keep your engine working at an optimal temperature so that it won’t break down during overheat or freeze.
While the coolant is working on securing the optimal temperature, we can break it down into two specific types, which are the ‘Engine Coolant’ & the ‘Radiator Coolant.’ Now they might share the same system, the difference between engine coolant and radiator coolant makes the entire cooling process work.
Let’s get to know about it.
What Is Coolant?
Coolant is a special sort of fluid with a combination of ethylene glycol & water. Along with the glycol and water coolant also consists of antifoams, corrosion inhibitors & dyes.
Engine Coolant and Radiator Coolant
Before diving into the differences, we must understand how a coolant works unless we won’t be able to differentiate the coolant to engine coolant and radiator coolant respectfully.
Cooling Process of Coolant
Let’s take a cool engine, for example. In your engine, there’s a thermostat which is a valve the regulates the flow of coolant. It’s always covered in the coolant so that the temperature is monitored all the time.
Now, as the bypass valve is open due to the engine being cold, thus the coolant now goes around the radiator and redistribute throughout the engine, which lets the engine heat up faster and then go to the operating temperature fast.
As the engine starts to work, the coolant starts to contain the temperature, and soon the coolant’s heat increases as it absorbs the heat produced by the engine.
When this coolant temperature increases to a certain amount (around 71-87°C), the bypass valve will begin to shut down while the main valve will begin to open. This will allow the cold coolant from the radiator to flow to the engine and the hot coolant from the engine to the radiator.
The radiator fan will turn on and the hot coolant that is on the radiator will release its temperature to the atmosphere, and the cold coolant that went into the engine will absorb the heat and the circle will continue.
Now, if you were paying attention, you can already identify that the hot coolant that comes from the engine is the ‘Engine coolant’ and the cold coolant that goes to the engine from the radiator is the ‘Radiator Coolant.’
Engine Coolant & Radiator Coolant: A Feature-By-Feature Comparison
The difference between these two types of coolant is visible in their definition, and it’s their heat. Depending on the temperature, the coolant can be labeled as engine coolant or radiator coolant. Here is a feature-by-feature comparison of the two.
The temperature of the engine coolant is higher than the radiator coolant. As the engine coolant consists of the heat that the coolant absorbed from the heated engine, the temperature should be around 70-90°C.
On the contrary, the radiator coolant’s temperature is below or equal to room temperature, so it should be around 0-2°C when it flows from the radiator to the engine.
The engine coolant’s job is to take the heat absorbed coolant off from the engine to the radiator to cool off, while the radiator coolant works to send cold coolant to the engine so that it can absorb the heat generated from the engine.
So, if we sum all these up, we can say that the difference between them is visible in:
- Both have different temperature points.
- One works to carry the heat, other works to provide cooling.
Which Is More Important?
Which is more important for your engine’s longevity? Engine coolant or radiator coolant?
The answer is both. Without the engine coolant and the radiator coolant working simultaneously, an engine can be reduced by the heat it generates due to the constant combustion.
If the engine coolant fails, then there won’t be any radiator coolant to work with and vice-versa. So, they are both equally important, and although they work in different sectors, together, they create a system that secures your engine’s future.
Coolant works to save an engine. Without coolant, the heat that an engine generates will destroy it very quickly. Hence, it’s very important to keep track of your coolant.
When it comes to engine coolant and radiator coolant, we can say this, although they have different roles, they serve the same purpose, and they construct a structure that is the backbone of the cooling system of an engine.
So, even though there’s a massive difference between engine coolant and radiator coolant, both of them are equally important for keeping the system cool.