Symptoms of a bad transmission cooler

Symptoms of a bad transmission cooler and its Replacement Cost

You might notice leaking fluid, which would need you to top off the system, tainted fluid, or an overheating transmission when the transmission cooler fails. Additionally, there can be dashboard warning lights and performance problems, such as shifting difficulties. As the cooler malfunctions, you might hear some odd noises.

The transmission cooler is a built-in feature of modern automatic transmission automobiles. This important component’s failure can cause a number of transmission problems. Because of this, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the signs of a faulty transmission cooler and be alert for any issues.

The main reason for transmission failure is too much heat. As a result, one of the most crucial parts of your car’s transmission is a transmission cooler. So, what exactly is a transmission cooler and how does it operate? The primary function of a transmission cooler, as its name suggests, is to lower the temperature of transmission fluid since increased strain from towing or carrying high loads leads it to produce more heat.

Well, in this article, I’ll be discussing the symptoms of a bad transmission cooler and its replacement costs.

Symptoms of a bad transmission cooler

So, let’s dive in!


Symptoms of a bad transmission cooler

The following are the symptoms of a bad transmission cooler:

  • Burnt Smell.
  • Check engine light.
  • Leaking transmission fluid.
  • Overheating transmission.
  • Weird sound.
  • Low transmission fluid level.
  • Poor shifting.

Burnt Smell

Do you detect any burning smells? If so, your transmission cooler might be malfunctioning. Your transmission fluid will probably start to overheat and even evaporate if your transmission cooler starts to malfunction or gets clogged. The fluid may burn and its levels may drop if the transmission temperature rises beyond 225 degrees Fahrenheit, which will create friction between the moving parts of the transmission. Get your car checked out by a qualified mechanic right away if you detect a burnt smell coming from it.

Check engine light

If your check engine light comes on, there’s another indication that your transmission cooler is failing. In addition to having an adverse effect on your gearbox, a broken transmission cooler can also harm the engine of your car. Your engine’s temperature could rise due to heat from your transmission, which could hinder its performance and perhaps cause damage. Your check engine light will most likely turn on to alert you that anything is wrong as a result.

Leaking transmission fluid

A faulty transmission cooler might produce a leak. It’s time to investigate more closely if fluid is leaking from beneath the transmission, the cooler, or the radiator.

Before the transmission loses all of its fluid, the lines connecting the cooler to the transmission may have developed a leak that needs to be fixed. It’s also a good idea to examine the fluid’s color while it is dripping. Red should be the color of the new transmission fluid. When you remedy the leak, you might want to replace the fluid if it is becoming brown.

Overheating transmission

The transmission is the same way—it needs coolant to stay at the right temperature, just like your engine does. You can anticipate the transmission to become heated when this component malfunctions because the transmission cooler lowers the fluid’s temperature.

You should have the transmission fixed as soon as possible since internal damage can result from the transmission warms up. It’s better to avoid driving while the transmission is overheating in the interim.

Weird sound

You’ll probably start to hear some odd noises when your transmission overheats as a result of a broken transmission cooler. For instance, a drop in transmission fluid may result in noises like clunking or grinding. When the transmission’s moving parts don’t have enough lubrication, they rub against one another and make these noises.

Low transmission fluid level

To make sure everything is operating as it should, you should frequently check the transmission fluid. If you are, you may detect issues before they become serious since the fluid level may start to decline. Even if the transmission fluid can be refilled to the top of the line, the issue still persists. To guarantee that the fluid stays where it should, you would need to fix the transmission fluid cooler and any leaks.

Poor shifting

Performance concerns are certain to be present if there is fluid leakage or transmission that is overheated. The transmission might not seem to be responding as promptly as it should. Additionally, there can be issues with gear changes. The cooler may be to blame, but these issues can arise from almost any transmission defect, therefore a complete diagnosis is required.

How much does it cost to replace a transmission cooler?

Why are transmission cooling line repair costs so different from one another? The variation is brought on by the individual mechanics’ varied labor rates. Additionally, the time it takes to fix each car will vary. The expense of the repair will increase as it becomes more difficult to reach the cooling lines. The cost is mostly determined by how much labor is required for the repair as the lines themselves are not very costly.

However, if you need to replace your internal transmission cooler, you’ll also need a new radiator. This cost could range from $350 to $1,000 depending on the type of vehicle you drive and the location of the repair shop. Note, that the price depends on different factors such as the car you drive, the mechanic shop, location, etc.

Since it requires less labor, you might be able to change the external transmission cooler on your own. The price range for an aftermarket gearbox cooler is $35 to $450. To promote optimal air movement, these components, which resemble miniature radiators, are positioned in front of the radiator or air conditioning condenser.

How Do You Inspect a Transmission Cooler?

It can be challenging to inspect the transmission cooler because it is placed inside the radiator. To check for leaks in the lines, glance at the radiator’s exterior. There must be a leak if you open the radiator cap and witness transmission fluid blending with the coolant. This is a bad circumstance.

The repair of a transmission cooler is not simple. In reality, you must replace the entire radiator if the problem is inside the radiator. In general, replacing an aftermarket transmission cooler is simpler and doesn’t need for installing a new radiator.

The following shows how to inspect a transmission cooler;

  • Locate the coolant drain, then let the liquid out into a fresh pan. Whenever you’re through, don’t forget to recycle the used fluids.
  • Remove the radiator shroud and fan.
  • Remove the radiator by unbolting it.
  • It would be wise to inspect the cooling system while the radiator is removed. To make sure the automobile won’t overheat, inspect the thermostat and other parts. With the radiator off, it’s simpler to replace several pieces right now.
  • The new radiator and shroud should be installed.
  • Reattach each and every hose.
  • Bleed the system and refill the coolant.
  • Transmission fluid may have been a little lost in the process, but certainly not significantly. If necessary, top off the system.
  • Test-drive the vehicle to make sure everything functions as it should. After driving, check the fluid levels again to make sure there are no leaks.

A trained mechanic can replace the transmission cooler more easily than a do-it-yourself. Since the radiator might need to be changed, the task is typically not straightforward.

Related Article

Watch the video below to learn about signs of bad transmission cooler:


What does a transmission cooler do?

A transmission cooler functions similarly to a heat exchange that is positioned next to the radiator of your car. Through the component, hot transmission fluid flows and makes touch with a number of fins or plates. The liquid is cooled as it cycles back into the transmission as a result of the heat dissipation.

Can you clean a transmission cooler?

The only transmission cooler flushing equipment that can remove 99.9999% of the dirt and impurities in the cooler is required to clean a transmission cooler. Only Hot Flush is capable of performing this. Nobody will accept even 90% cleanliness.

Can you run a car without a transmission cooler?

Failure of the transmission cooler lines in your car could result in catastrophic transmission damage. Transferring transmission fluid to an air-air heat exchanger located on the front of the vehicle is the purpose of the cooler lines. Before returning the fluid to the transmission, this cooler cools it.

How do I know if my transmission is overheating?

  • Instant perception of a burning smell both inside and outside the car.
  • When accelerating or braking, the gears “slip”.
  • The sensation of a delayed or hesitant gearshift when driving.
  • Any grinding or shaking sensation experienced when accelerating or when the vehicle is in neutral.

Will a transmission cooler make the transmission last longer?

The factory cooler is sufficient to help keep things safe for the majority of everyday driving. To assist in prolonging transmission life, however, you might require additional cooling capacity than the OEM cooler can offer in extreme circumstances.

What fluid runs through a transmission cooler?

The most popular transmission cooler on the market is the tube and fin. It has aluminum construction and S-shaped tubes with fins. The ATF is cooled as it travels through the tubes thanks to the fins’ assistance in absorbing heat from the ATF and creating airflow over them.

What happens if the transmission cooler is clogged?

Your transmission fluid will probably start to overheat and even evaporate if your transmission cooler starts to malfunction or gets clogged.

Does coolant run through the transmission cooler?

The transmission becomes warm with routine drive, exactly like the engine. The fluid is sent through a cooler located inside the radiator to cool the transmission. The engine coolant flows over the gearbox cooler in the radiator when the engine cooling system is functioning properly.

What is another name for a transmission cooler?

Before the fluid is pushed back to the transmission, where it is anticipated to cool the transmission clutches, the coolant circulates around the transmission cooler (often referred to as a TOC, for Transmission Oil Cooler), cooling it. Sometimes things don’t turn out very well. The TOC operates in a variety of challenging situations.

Can a transmission cooler cause overheating?

When the engine’s cooler is unable to keep the transmission temperature at a low enough level, overheating of the gearbox results. When the engine cannot be kept cool, the transmission deteriorates and eventually fails if it is not repaired.

That’s all for this article where I have discussed the common symptoms of a bad transmission cooler and how much it costs to replace it. I hope it was helpful, if so kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!


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