Car Oils And Fluids

Everything You Need To Know About Transmission Cooler

Mike Cross
Updated Jul 4, 2021
6 Things You Need To Know About Transmission Cooler

Your transmission is a much-needed part of your vehicle that needs to run in tip-top shape. Plus, the last thing you need is for it to overheat and sustain damage. But there is one part that you’ll need in order to keep your transmission running smoothly. That, of course, is your transmission cooler.

We’ll be taking a look at what it is, how it works, and why it is necessary to have one. By the time you have finished reading this, you might have already made up your mind.

1. What is a transmission cooler?

A transmission cooler is used to disperse heat from any fluid that is flowing through the transmission itself. The air that is transported through the cooler itself is at a lower temperature than the transmission fluid. The air should flow freely in order for the transmission cooler to work as long as it’s installed in the front of your vehicle. In older vehicles, sometimes a fan is often needed in order to keep the transmission cool. These days, transmission coolers will be found in newer vehicles. A transmission cooler will work continuously regardless of the color of the coolant is inside your radiator.

2. How does a transmission cooler work?

Your transmission cooler will have fins that will allow air to flow through the engine. This air will be used to cool off any transmission fluid that may be transferred. At the same time, it also does its part to ensure that your entire engine is cool and free from any overheating. Keep in mind that a transmission cooler should only be used for the intent of keeping your transmission in functioning order. It should not be a replacement solution for any transmission problems.

3. Why a transmission cooler is important?

Why a transmission cooler is important
Why a transmission cooler is important

If you are operating a vehicle, there will be components running through your engine that will be hot. This may lead to overheating if there is not enough airflow that is being used to cool it. An overheating engine is something that you don’t want to deal with. Just enough heat can cause a vehicle’s engine to become severely damaged. And it just doesn’t affect the engine itself. It can and eventually will be able to spread throughout the inner workings of your vehicle like the transmission. Failure to take care of the issue may kill the engine and render your vehicle useless.

Plus, when you install a transmission cooler you can boost your fuel economy considerably. This means you’ll be able to go a bit farther on a tank of gas than compared to a vehicle that does not have a transmission cooler. If you use a truck that will be doing some towing on a regular basis, then you will definitely need a transmission cooler. That’s because towing heavyweight objects will add on some stress to the transmission itself.  Also, frequent stopping and moving may also cause transmission stress. A prime example of this is city driving. Considering that you’ll be going through traffic lights and stopping at others, a transmission cooler will maintain a transmission’s temperature no matter how many “stops” and “gos” you do.

4. How to choose a transmission cooler?

6 Things You Need To Know About Transmission Cooler
6 Things You Need To Know About Transmission Cooler

There are different types of transmission coolers to choose from. They come in different designs, but they all share the same purpose. Here are some transmission coolers that are available on the market (so you can choose the best one for your vehicle):

Tube and Fin Coolers: These are among one of the most common transmission coolers that most motorists will use. Especially if they’re vehicles are older models (think any time before 2010). These will come with a weaving tube that will transmit fluid and allow the transmission itself to cool when the vehicle is in operation.

Plate and Fin Coolers: If you are looking for a transmission cooler that will give you better efficiency, you might want to consider a Plate and Fin cooler. These will be ideal for vehicles that are slightly larger in size like trucks.

Stacked Plane Coolers: If you are going to be towing frequently with your vehicle, this is the best possible choice. It will handle all the heavy-duty work and prevent any added stress to the transmission. If you have an off-road truck, this will also be an ideal choice considering the amount of dirt and dust that could get into your vehicle and affect the engine and transmission.

5. How to prevent an overheated transmission

One of the most common issues for transmissions is overheating. While a transmission cooler is one solution, that might also not be enough. Here are some things to do in order to prevent any transmission overheating from happening:

  • Check your transmission fluid levels on a regular basis. If your levels are low, it may not produce any lubrication to the point where friction between the transmission and engine can increase.
  • Consider installing a deep pan. This will expand your fuel economy quite a bit and allow you to add more fuel in the process.
  • Don’t go over any weight limits when towing. If you are carrying an excessive amount of weight, you’ll risk stressing out the transmission, which in turn will cause it to heat up. If you have no idea how much weight your vehicle can handle, consult with your owner's manual.

6. How much will this cost?

If you are looking to get a transmission cooler professionally installed, you may be looking at a cost ranging from $100 to $450. That’s because the transmission cooler will run anywhere between $50 to $100 while labor will cost an additional $50 to $100.


A transmission cooler might be exactly what you need for your vehicle when all is said and done. Especially when you’ll be planning on doing more than just driving. Whether you are doing some regular towing or kicking up some dust off-road, a transmission cooler will save your transmission from any stress or damage. If you need a transmission cooler, figure out which type is right for you. Especially when you are driving a truck

Mike Cross
Life is too short to drive with stock audio

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