5 Symptoms Of A Bad Transmission Cooler (& Replacement Cost)

Transmission coolers are an additional component which works together with the radiator in order to extract heat from fluid. While not every vehicle includes a stock transmission cooler, it’s vital that you keep this part in good condition if you have one. With a bad transmission cooler, the heat won’t be absorbed properly, causing more wear on your precious gearbox and engine.

The top five signs of a failing transmission cooler will be discussed along with the cost and estimated replacement costs. Let’s begin with a look at the signs:

Fluid leaks and overheating are the most frequent symptoms of a clogged or bad transmission cooler. Transmission noises or shifting problems may be a sign of a problem. You will see a warning lamp on your dashboard for many models of cars.

This is a detailed listing of symptoms that indicate a damaged or blocked transmission cooler.

Índice de Contenido
  1. Bad Transmission Cooler or Clogged Symptoms
    1. 1. Transmission Fluid Leak
    2. 2. Poor Performance
    3. 3. Strange Transmission Noises
    4. 4. Temperature Increase
    5. 5. Dashboard Warning Light
  2. Transmission Cooler Location
  3. A Transmission Cooler's Function
  4. Transmission Cooler Replacement Cost

Bad Transmission Cooler or Clogged Symptoms

1. Transmission Fluid Leak

Car Oil Leak

A leak is one of the main symptoms that a transmission cooler may have. The lines that run to the cooler can break or crack. This can be quickly fixed by replacing the line.

Also, rust can form on cooler lines. It is most common if the area you live in has a lot of humidity or close to an ocean. It is easily visible because transmission fluid is often brightly colored in vehicles. 

2. Poor Performance

Slow Car Acceleration

When the transmission cooler fails, it’s possible to lose fluid, which can lead to poor performance. If the transmission fluid falls below its normal levels, you might have trouble shifting.

It is important to get your transmission examined immediately if you notice any unusual behavior. What might be a simple problem could quickly turn into an expensive repair if it’s not taken care of. 

3. Strange Transmission Noises

Noise From Car

This could cause shifting problems that can be associated with unusual sounds. There are many parts to your transmission that need the proper amount and temperature fluid. 

Parts could rub together when the fluid is drained, resulting in strange sounding. You may hear grinding or clunking during shift changes. 

4. Temperature Increase

Transmission coolers are designed to lower the temperature of fluid as it flows through them. When the cooler can’t work right, it leads to higher fluid temperatures.

The transmission can heat up and cause other issues. These are the main causes of transmission problems, such as lines breaking or performance problems. It could also be due to a blockage in the cooler, which could cause higher temperatures. 

The transmission fluid can also start to heat up and you may smell it burning. This smell should be immediately reported to the manufacturer. 

5. Dashboard Warning Light

Your vehicle is equipped with many warning systems, telling when something isn’t working right. If the temperature in the transmission fluid rises rapidly, it can cause the Check Engine Light to turn on.

This alert is intended to draw your attention. You should have your system checked with a diagnostic instrument if it is on. 

Transmission Cooler Location

Transmission Cooler

The transmission cooler is usually mounted directly on the radiator to ensure maximum airflow. Sometimes, the transmission cooler may be attached to an air conditioning condenser. 

Another option is a transmission heat exchanger. This uses coolant to cool down the transmission fluid. These heat exchangers are commonly installed in the transmission.

Although all cars come with a transmission cooler from the manufacturer, many people choose to have a cooler later on. When towing is frequent or high performance vehicles, these components are especially critical. For better performance, consider installing an aftermarket component if you are pushing your vehicle past its limits. 

A Transmission Cooler's Function

Transmission Oil Cooler
Transmission heat exchanger

Transmitter coolers remove excess heat from transmission fluid. The fluid reduces friction between the components of the transmission. While there is friction between gear changes, the fluid ensures that everything runs smoothly.

This friction creates heat. Cooling the fluid involves it traveling through the transmission cooler, which allows it to be distributed with coolant and the radiator before being returned to the transmission. This cooler is located near the condenser of the air conditioner. The fluid will be cooled by this cooling device. 

Transmission Cooler Replacement Cost

Replacement costs for transmission coolers range from $100 to $300. Parts shouldn’t be more than $200 with most vehicles, with labor adding in another $100. If you need to replace a transmission cooler, the process isn’t difficult.

The old cooler can be removed and replaced with an after-market alternative, which will save you money on labor. 

If you want to upgrade your vehicle's performance with an aftermarket transmission coolant, there will be more work. You will have to locate the right mounting spot and run wires. In these cases, it is a good idea to have a professional mechanic inspect the system.

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