Just like your engine, your transmission needs to run at desired temperatures (usually somewhere between 175-200 degrees Fahrenheit when your vehicle is not towing something heavy). Therefore, it needs a cooling system that works similarly to your engine. As hot transmission fluid flows through the transmission, it needs to be circulated and cooled down before returning into the system.
Most vehicles will have some sort of transmission cooler built into their radiators that help provide adequate cooling results for normal daily driving and prevent the transmission from overheating. However, many vehicle owners will consider adding an auxiliary transmission cooler (also known as a transmission oil cooler) to play it extra safe or for special circumstances. Here are some reasons why a transmission cooler may be right for you:
• Towing/Heavy Loads – If you have a truck or service vehicle that is used for towing or carrying heavy loads, an auxiliary transmission cooler is worth looking into because it will help recirculate the transmission fluid and keep the transmission running cool despite the added stress being put on it from the heavier weight.
• Transmission Overheating – If your transmission has overheated or regularly does so, then you may want to consider adding a secondary transmission cooler or at least have your current cooling system inspected by a repair professional. An overheating transmission is bad news and the damage can be very costly if not dealt with immediately.
• Burnt Transmission Fluid – If you notice transmission fluid leaking and the fluid itself is dark and burnt smelling (it should usually be bright red with a translucent appearance), you have problems. Just the leak is enough to cause concern, but if the fluid is burnt then there could be a cooling issue that is worth getting looked at.
Types of Transmission Coolers
There are different types of transmission coolers to consider if installing an auxiliary model:
Tube and Fin
These are the least expensive and are often great for older cars. However, they are usually not the most efficient option and they are not ideal for vehicles with overdrive transmissions.
Plate and Fin
This mid-level style will be more efficient than tube and fin transmission coolers despite the fact they are typically smaller in size. Of course, a plate and fin model will cost a little more.
These are the most popular because they are the most effective. Of course, they are also the most expensive option. They are small in size, durable and very efficient when it comes to cooling large amounts of transmission fluid in a short amount of time.
The type of secondary transmission cooler you install will depend on your situation and budget. The more strain you intend to put on your transmission, the more advanced model you will probably want to use. It should be noted that any current transmission cooling problems you are experienced should be inspected by a professional transmission repair shop first. You may not need an additional transmission cooler or there could be other transmission issues that need to be dealt with to avoid concerns of overheating.
In the Central Valley, Ralph’s Transmission is your go-to transmission shop. Our expert team of automotive technicians specialize in transmission maintenance and repair and we offer fast, friendly service to help determine the problem and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. Ralph’s Transmission offers free towing within a 30-mile radius and all initial transmission inspections are performed at no additional charge.
Call Ralph’s Transmission today at 209.526.1909 or schedule your service appointment online.