What Is Oil Cooler?

by Eliana Kalsky

Oil coolers are essentially small radiators that are situated in front of an engine's cooling system in an automobile. Its purpose is to cool the oil as it passes through the coils and it only operates when the engine is running.


Oil coolers are primarily responsible for cooling an automobile's oil. This helps to extend the life of both the oil and the car's engine.

How it Works

Automobile engines generate a tremendous amount of heat and therefore depend on transmission fluid for cooling. The ideal temperature range for engine oil is 180 degrees through 200 degrees. When working within this range, the oil functions as a lubricant, coolant and cleanser for the engine.

As oil cycles through tube and fin style coolers, heat is drawn out from the oil to the external fins where it is dispelled by air flow.

Aftermarket Coolers

In most cases, oil coolers are added by the owner of the vehicle, as most transmissions are designed to be fitted with oil coolers.

Vehicles that Benefit Most from Oil Coolers

Vehicles that benefit most from oil coolers are ones that do any kind of towing or are used in a hot climate. In many cases, oil coolers are added to trucks, motor homes and other types of heavy vehicles.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Overall, adding an oil cooler to a vehicle's engine will help to extend the life of the oil, therefore extending the life of the engine. However, adding an oil cooler will result in the need of more oil per oil change, since there is more oil needed to fill the coil and lines.

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