Above is a diagram showing a transmission cooler mounted behind a radiator. Choosing the right kind of transmission cooler can make all the difference in your engine's performance.

Automotive Accessories Connection

Choosing Transmission Coolers

Transmissions have a lot of work to do: They have to keep your engine's revolutions per minute (RPMs) within a usable range and transmit the power from those rotations to the drive wheels at speeds anywhere from 1 to more than 100 miles per hour (1 to more than 161 kilometers per hour). This generates a lot of heat, and in order to keep this heat low, transmissions rely on a slippery, oily-like substance that lubricates and cools the moving parts.

Sometimes the transmission fluid just isn't enough to keep everything cool. There are times when the fluid temperature can exceed the maximum range of 160 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (71 to 93 degrees Celsius), and when this happens the fluid begins to burn. This decreases the amount of fluid running through your transmission, which in turn can seriously damage all of the important moving parts within the transmission. The transmission is often one of the most expensive parts of your vehicle to repair, and replacing it is usually the last thing on a vehicle owner's mind.

Installing a transmission cooler is an extra precaution against overheating your transmission, and many people decide to use them in tow vehicles. Transmission coolers come in many different shapes and sizes, and there are a few things to consider when choosing one.

Perhaps the most important factor to consider is the tow vehicle itself. How much does the truck or RV weigh? How much cargo will you be carrying? How much is the trailer weight? Is that the most weight that you expect to carry? Matching a transmission cooler to your vehicle's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is critical to allow this add-on cooler to operate properly. You can investigate all of this yourself online, or you could consult a professional for some (hopefully) solid advice.

Another point to consider is the terrain where you will be doing most of your towing. Will you be towing across long, flat stretches of highway or will you be towing in an urban environment where stop-and-go traffic is the daily routine? What about hilly or even mountainous terrains? Pulling a heavy load up a steep grade can generate a lot of heat in an engine and transmission. Will the transmission cooler be able to cool it down? There's actually quite a bit more to consider than that, but at least now you're thinking of some of the variables that you need to consider when you're choosing a transmission cooler.

So once you've chosen your transmission cooler, how do you go about installing it?