Physics Van 3-site Navigational Menu

Physics Van Navigational Menu

Q & A: Oil in your radiator?

Learn more physics!

Most recent answer: 11/04/2010
If I was to add oil to the radiator in my car instead of using water & antifreeze would my car run at cooler temperature?
- Marcus (age 39)
San Diego, ca.
Probably not a good idea.  First of all there is always a fire danger if the oil gets too hot and boils over.  Secondly the thermal conductivity of water is almost four times greater than that of oil thus is far more efficient in transferring heat from the engine to the radiator. The only plus that I can think of is at least you wouldn't have to worry about adding anti-freeze in the winter.


My guess is that soon you wouldn't have to worry about anything at all about your former car.  Mike W.

(published on 11/04/2010)

Follow-up on this answer.