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Transmission Coolers

The vast majority of automatic transmission failures are a direct result of overheating. And towing can place an extra strain on your transmission, causing it to get too hot. An aftermarket transmission cooler can help prevent overheating and extend the life of your vehicle's transmission. Even if you don't tow, keeping your transmission cooler can be beneficial. Even a relatively small drop in fluid temperature can almost double a transmission's life and increase its performance.Most factory cooling systems are adequate at best, rarely maintaining your transmission's fluid within the ideal operating range of 160 to 200 degrees. Adding a transmission cooler is not difficult and can extend the life of your vehicle and ensure that it functions at its best.
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Types of Coolers

The heat exchanger is the cooler itself, the core that works to cool transmission fluid. Learn more about the three basic types of heat exchangers, below.

Tube and Fin

  • Fluid flows through tubes and transfers heat out to fins
    • Copper tubing offers superior conduction
    • Aluminum fins allow for maximum heat dissipation
  • Fins transfer that heat out into the surrounding air - greater airflow results in faster transfer
  • A tube and fin cooler is moderately efficient and often larger in size
Transmission Cooler - Tube and Fin

Plate and Fin

  • Fluid spreads out along finned chambers to cool faster
  • Turbulators agitate fluid continuously to facilitate heat transfer and prevent pressure drop
  • A plate and fin cooler is very efficient and relatively smaller in size
Plate and Fin Transmission Cooler

Stacked Plate

  • Fluid spreads out over maximum surface area for superior cooling
  • Plate core can cool a greater volume of fluid faster than other heat exchangers
  • A stacked plate cooler is the most efficient and typically smallest in size
Stacked Plate Transmission Cooler
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Transmission Cooler Location

Most transmission coolers are designed to be mounted flush against either the radiator or the AC condenser core. For maximum cooling ability, the heat exchanger must receive the most airflow possible.Position A Mount cooler between your vehicle's grille and the AC condenser core for the greatest efficiency.Position BMounting the cooler between the condenser and the radiator still allows for ample airflow, but cuts effectiveness by 25 percent. Installation of a larger cooler unit in this position may help make up for that loss.Position CMounting the cooler between your engine and radiator considerably decreases the available airflow and causes the cooler to be 40 percent less efficient than if you mounted it in position A. If you mount a cooler between the radiator and engine, you should install a larger unit to make up for that loss.
Transmission Cooler Diagram
Transmission Cooler Diagram
Watch Now: Transmission Cooler Installation
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Other Mounting Options

Frame Rail Coolers

  • A frame rail cooler has a low profile design to fit on a vehicle's chassis
  • Allows for extra cooling, even in crowded compartments
    • Lacks the efficiency of other cooler kits
Frame Rail Transmission Cooler

Pan Coolers

  • A pan cooler replaces the pan on your vehicle's transmission
  • Uses the airflow beneath your car to cool the fluid in the pan
    • Not recommended for vehicles that sit in traffic as ample airflow is required
  • Can result in a temperature drop of up to 50°
Transmission Pan Cooler

Remote-Mount Units

  • A remote-mount unit provides ultimate efficiency with a high-powered fan mounted to cooler - superior airflow no matter where you mount it
  • Choice of heat-exchanger core lets you customize your cooler
    • Tube and fin
    • Plate and fin
    • Stacked plate
  • Great for environments where steady airflow is limited - heavy traffic, off-roading
Remote-Mount Transmission Cooler Units
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We offer a variety of adapters, connectors, and fittings so that you can hook up a cooler to your vehicle no matter the model. Most transmission cooler kits include hose, hose clamps, installation hardware, and a radiator adapter that can fit many transmission line connectors. In most cases, you won't need to cut or flare any lines to install a transmission cooler. However, you may need vehicle specific connectors to install a cooler in some vehicles. Our fitguide can help you find a cooler with the proper connectors for installation in your vehicle.You can browse our transmission cooler adapters, fittings, and connectors through the following links:Note: If you use flared fittings, be sure to match types:
  • AN to AN
  • JIC to JIC
  • SAE to SAE
Transmission Cooler Connectors
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Cooling Other Automotive Systems

Many coolers can be used not only for transmissions, but for engine oil and power steering systems as well. A power steering cooler will extend the life of both the pump and seal, drastically reducing heat-related pump failures.Related Articles

James S.


There is no mention if there is any change in the amount of fluid to get a proper reading on dip stick.

Etrailer Expert

Jon G.


You will need to add more fluid once a transmission cooler is installed, yes. It varies by size of the cooler and how much fluid is spilled during the installation.



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