What Is A Transmission Cooler? Do You Need One?

A transmission cooler, just like the name suggests, is something that cools the transmission fluid, but why would you need it?

The Problem

Traditionally, the radiator is the only thing you needed to keep your vehicle cool. The radiator houses the water and coolant that circulates through the heated parts of the car so that it can absorb their heat, thereby cooling the car and keeping it running efficiently.

Unfortunately, trucks are being built with tremendous horsepower that not only provide them with great power, but also heat them up to considerable temperatures. Matters get even worse when these (already powerful) trucks are modified to output even more power or if the truck is regularly being used to haul heavy loads. The heat is generated in various parts of the including the friction (think of the gears, bands, clutch plates, and many other moving parts of the transmission) on the transmission system.

Unfortunately, a heated transmission fluid endangers your transmission system in more ways than one. For example, the transmission fluid is also meant to cool the transmission system, and it can't do this if it is already heated up. Not only that, but the efficiency of the transmission fluid reduces if it gets heated, which means it will not be able to lubricate the relevant parts. Even the life of the transmission fluid shortens if it is constantly under high temperatures.

The Solution

It is for the above reasons that you need a transmission cooler, which is a handy little contraption that operates like a miniature radiator. The transmission cooler takes the heated transmission fluid, runs it through multiple fins, and cools it down to safe temperatures before circulating it back into the transmission system. The result is that the transmission fluid is able to lubricate and cool the transmission system efficiently, and the fluid won't deteriorate prematurely too.

Who Needs the Transmission Cooler?

Not every truck needs a transmission cooler, even if it has a tremendous horsepower. However, you should think about getting a transmission cooler for your truck if you:

  • have modified the truck and increased its power,
  • always have a heavy load, such as a trailer, hooked to the truck,
  • or have experienced overheating episodes with the truck.

Consider your vehicle and how you sue it; do you think it needs a transmission cooler? You can also discuss your concerns with your truck servicer to gauge their opinion on the matter.