A radiator is a central component of your vehicle's engine cooling system. It is made up of a series of thin metal tubes that weave their way back and forth across a matrix of even thinner aluminum cooling fins. The radiator is located ahead of the engine, just behind the front bumper and grille where air can pass through easily.
In order to mitigate the heat caused by combustion and help your engine to operate within a designated temperature range, liquid coolant (a mixture of ethylene glycol and water, also referred to as “antifreeze”) is forced through the engine block. On its way through, the coolant absorbs some of the heat and exits the engine. From there, the coolant travels through a rubber hose to the radiator. Heat is transferred again, this time from the coolant to the radiator’s metal tubes. As air passes across the cooling fins, aided by the engine cooling fan(s), the heat dissipates into the atmosphere. This not only keeps your engine running at a relatively constant temperature, it also serves to prevent overheating.