Cooling System | Types , Advantages and Disadvantages

Cooling System | Types , Advantages and Disadvantages

A vehicle’s engine-cooling system serves not just to keep the engine cool, but to also keep its temperature warm enough to ensure efficient, clean operation. System components include a radiator to dissipate heat, a fan or fans to ensure adequate airflow for radiator cooling, a thermostat valve that opens when the desired operating temperature is reached and a water pump (or coolant pump) to circulate coolant through the engine, hoses and other components. Most vehicles now employ an expansion tank that allows the coolant to expand, and exit, the cooling circuit when hot, and to return when the car is turned off and the engine cools. The cooling system also incorporates elements of the cabin’s ventilation system, because engine heat is used to warm the car’s interior.

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While running, an engine continuously produces heat and converts it into power. This heat is derived by burning fuel in the engine. But as we all know, there is no engine in the world which is 100% efficient. There is always some amount of heat energy which gets wasted. If we do not transmit this heat energy into the atmosphere, this heat will overheat the engine. This overheating will result into engine seizing. In engine seizing, due to excess heat piston gets melted inside the cylinder. It avoid this trouble of overheating a car is provided with engine cooling system.

An engine cooling system is a system integral with the engines. It carries away excess heat from the engine with the help of a flowing fluid. This fluid can be air or water.

Engine cooling system
Engine cooling system

Types Of Cooling System : 

Or we can say there are two types of cooling systems
1. Liquid or indirect cooling system
2. Air or direct cooling system


In a liquid cooling system, an engine is surrounded with water jackets. With the help of a pump this water gets circulated in this water jacket.
Water flowing in these jackets takes out heat from the engine. This hot water than flows through a radiator, where it gets cooled from the cold heat blown through a fan.
In this system the water takes heat from the engine and that water gets cooled by the air and than again gets circulated to the engine.
This is an indirect cooling process, where actual cooling thing that is air is not directly cooling the system. The air is cooling the water and water is cooling the engine.
Liquid or indirect cooling system is mainly used in big engines, like that of cars and trucks.


1. Compact design of engines
2. It provides even cooling to the engine
3. Engine can be installed at any location of the vehicle. It is not necessary to install engine at the front.
4. It can be used in both small and big engines


1. Here water jacket becomes one extra part of engine.
2. Water circulation consumes power, thus reduces engine efficiency.
3. In case of failure of of cooling system, serious damage could happen to the engine.
4. Cost of system is considerably high.
5. It requires routine maintenance, and thus puts extra maintenance cost burden.

diesel engine cooling system
diesel engine cooling system


In a direct cooling system an engine is cooled directly with the help of air flowing through it. It is the same cooling system which is used to cool our bike engines.
As we can see here, air is in direct contact with the engine hence it is also known as direct cooling system.
Air cooling system is used for small engines, like that of bikes and grass cutter etc.


1. Design of engine becomes simpler.
2. Repair is easy in case of damages.
3. Absence of bulky cooling system makes system maintenance easily.
4. No danger of coolant leakage.
5. Engine is not subjected to freezing troubles.
6. Weight of the system is less.
7. It is a self contained unit, as it does not requires radiator, header, tanks etc.
8. Installation of air cooled system is easy.


1. It is applicable to only small and medium sized engines.
2. It can only be used at the places where ambient temperatures is lower.
3. Cooling is not uniform.
4. Higher working temperature as compared to water cooled engines.
5. It produces more aerodynamic noise.
6. Specific fuel consumption is slightly higher.
7. Lower maximum allowable compression ratios.
8. The fan, if used consumes almost 5% power generated by the engines.

Characteristics of an efficient engine cooling system

Following are two main characteristics of an efficient engine cooling system.

1. It should be capable of removing about 30% of the heat generated in the engine, while maintaining optimum working temperature in the engine.
2. It should remove heat at a faster rate when engine is hot and remove engine at slow rate when engine is cold.

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Sachin Thorat

Sachin is a B-TECH graduate in Mechanical Engineering from a reputed Engineering college. Currently, he is working in the sheet metal industry as a designer. Additionally, he has interested in Product Design, Animation, and Project design. He also likes to write articles related to the mechanical engineering field and tries to motivate other mechanical engineering students by his innovative project ideas, design, models and videos.

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