Transmissions have a lot of work to do: they have to keep your engine 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. This generates a lot of heat and, to keep the heat low, the transmissions rely on a slippery, oily-like substance that lubricates and cools the moving parts.
Sometimes the transmission fluid is just not enough to keep everything cool. There are times when the temperature of the fluid can exceed the maximum range of 160 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and when this occurs, the liquid starts to burn. This reduces the amount of fluid flowing through your transmission, which in turn can cause severe damage to all major moving parts of the transmission. Transmission is often one of the most expensive parts of your vehicle to repair, and replacing it is usually the last thing on the owner's mind.
Installing a transmission cooler is an extra precaution against overheating your transmission, and many people decide to use it in tow vehicles. Transmission coolers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and there are a few things to consider when choosing one.
Transmission coolers are designed to disperse the heat from the hot fluid that flows through it. For example, the tube and fin style transmission cooler has fins throughout the body of the cooler to help heat the tubes to escape.
The incoming air, which is at a lower temperature than the fluid in the cooler, helps the fluid to cool down before transmission. Airflow is one of the most critical factors in enabling your transmission cooler to do its job as long as it is positioned in front of the vehicle.
If you are in a situation where you can not use a cooler in front of a car where enough air can flow, it is recommended to use a cooler with a fan. Most common cars will not have to deal with a remotely mounted transmission cooler with a fan based on the simplicity of most cars.
Another reason for the cooler transmission to stay cool is because it is independent of the cooler in the radiator. The factory transmission cooler is mounted inside the vehicle's radiator. While this is fine in most situations, the transmission fluid will often run hotter. The hot coolant in the radiator can sometimes increase the temperature of the transmission and almost act as a heater. After installation of a transmission cooler, temperature drops of 20-30 degrees are not unusual.
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