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Can You Put Tap Water in a Car Radiator?

As a car travels down the road, and even as it is stopped in most cars, its engine is continuously moving. The engine generates a large amount of heat as it runs and this heat is dissipated in several ways. Manufacturers use multiple methods to release heat from an engine but a common method that most cars have is the use of a radiator. A radiator’s location may not be the same in every car but its job is typically the same, to cool down an engine.

How a Car Radiator Works
A car radiator is a vital part of a liquid-cooled car’s cooling system. The radiator accepts hot coolant from the engine and cools the coolant off as the coolant flows through the tubes of the radiator. The radiator cools the hot coolant down by allowing air to pass through it as the coolant flows through the tubes. The air is introduced to the radiator by either the car’s motion or the radiator fan. The radiator fan, though it is also a vital part of the car’s cooling system, operates when a car is slowing down or at a dead stop. The radiator fan is mounted right behind a car’s radiator and pushes air into the radiator when the radiator isn’t experiencing enough airflow. The radiator fan is activated when a specified condition is met. These conditions are monitored and controlled by an engine’s thermostat.

How Antifreeze Coolant Works
Antifreeze coolant, also known as antifreeze or coolant, is the fluid that keeps an engine both cool and warm. Coolant has chemical properties that give it a high boiling point and a low freezing point. These properties allow for coolant to cool off an engine that is hot and heat up an engine that is operating at sub-zero degrees temperatures.

Coolant, since it interacts with metal parts, also needs to be rust preventive. Not only does it inhibit rust for the parts that it interacts with, but it also lubricates the parts as well. Coolant acts nearly like oil, though oil has its own set of properties, capabilities, and uses.

Replacing Antifreeze Coolant with Water
Coolant, in most cases, is a mixture of water and ethylene glycol. The mixture of both ethylene glycol and water gives coolant its admirable properties. Many coolant manufacturers specify the ideal ratios between the two fluids so that customers are suited across a wide variety of climates. In cases where you may not have antifreeze with you, but are experiencing overheating issues, you can temporarily fill up the radiator with water only. The water will cool the engine sufficiently but will not last in the engine for a long time due to its lower boiling point. If you believe that you will need to keep water in your engine’s cooling system for a prolonged amount of time then make sure to consistently monitor your car’s engine temperatures and fluid levels. Replace the water with coolant as soon as possible to prevent further overheating and engine damage.