Transmission coolers have one job, keeping your car’s transmission fluid cool. The cooler is used every time your car is running. If you’re wondering if an external transmission cooler is worth it, that is for you to decide. More often than not, transmission oil coolers are a worthwhile investment to help prolong the life of your transmission.
A transmission cooler is needed if your vehicle requires extra transmission cooling such as towing heavy loads, live in a warm climate area, or often drive in stop and go traffic, you may want to consider getting a transmission cooler. These types of driving conditions will increase the risk of your transmission overheating, which can cause premature transmission failure.
Once your transmission fluid reaches a certain temperature, the internal components within the transmission will begin to fail and not be able to do their job, which is to move your vehicle. Below is a transmission temperature chart showing the ideal temperatures for transmission fluid, and the lifespan you can expect out of your transmission at certain temperatures.
If you are unfamiliar with what a transmission coolers is or how they work, here is a quick rundown of the different types of transmission coolers available and the way they function:
Tube and fin coolers have a characteristic tube winding through it. The tubes encased within turbulators carry the fluid while the fins on the outside absorb the heat from the fluid.
Plate and fin coolers, unlike tube and fin coolers, plate and fin coolers have parallel plates running horizontally. You might confuse it for a radiator at first glance. With a larger surface area, fluid passes through the row of plates for more effective cooling.
Stacked plate coolers are arguably the most popular and have the best cooling efficiency out of the three types of coolers. This cooler has stacked plates (like its name indicates) that make it look like a radiator. Similarly, fluid is forced through cooling plates to cool it. However, they have larger turbulators for higher air flow.
How Much Do Transmission Coolers Cost?
Transmission cooler costs can vary depending on the size and style. Often the bigger the cooler, the more it will cost. Typically tube and fin coolers are the least expensive, followed by plate and fin, then stacked plate being the most expensive.
It is likely that a transmission cooler for your every day vehicle may cost somewhere in the $40 – $80 range. A transmission cooler in this price range will be able to handle all of your daily driving needs.
If you need something more heavy duty for towing or drag racing, you can expect to spend anywhere from $50 to over $200. Coolers in this price range offer much more cooling capacity, and are better suited to handle the more extreme conditions to help keep your transmission temperatures in a safe range.
Let’s take a look at some of the best transmission coolers available.
|NAME||AMAZON RATING||GVWR||TYPE OF COOLER|
|Hayden 678 with Rapid Cool Plate and Fin Transmission Cooler||4.6||24000||PLATE AND FIN|
|Hayden 679 With Rapid Cool Plate and Fin Transmission Cooler||4.8||30000||PLATE AND FIN|
|Hayden 677 Rapid-Cool Plate and Fin Transmission Cooler||4.5||20000||PLATE AND FIN|
|B&M 70268 Transmission cooler||4.0||19000||STACKED PLATE|
|B&M 70264 Super Cooler||4.4||24000||STACKED PLATE|
|B&M 70298 with Fan||4.3||–||PLATE AND FIN|
|Derale 13504 Series 8000||4.5||20500||PLATE AND FIN|
|Derale 13403 Series 10000||4.2||24500||STACKED PLATE|
|Dorman 918-216 Transmission Cooler||4.7||–||STACKED PLATE|
|Ultra-Cool Four Seasons 53001 Transmission Oil Cooler||4.6||–||TUBE AND FIN|
Hayden Transmission Coolers
Hayden 678 – Easy To Mount Transmission Cooler
The 678 by Hayden is a well-designed plate and fin transmission cooler. It is suitable for use in many types vehicles including, class C motor homes, pickup trucks, and vans. Basically, any vehicle with transmission lines connected to the radiator.
With its patented internal turbulation, this transmission cooler is highly efficiency. The design allows it to increase heat transfer while keeping pressure decrease minimal. This cooler undergoes pressure testing to ensure you have a system with no leaks.
Apart from the exceptional turbulation, the Hayden 678 comes with pre-drilled mounting brackets, which makes for easy installation.
This transmission cooler kit comes with foam mounting pads, zip ties, rubber transmission hose, clamps and other miscellaneous parts needed to install the cooler.
This cooler is ideal for a variety of vehicle to suit your cooling requirements. If you’re looking for an easy to install, well-developed plate and fin transmission cooler, the Hayden 678 is a great option.
What we like about the Hayden 678:
- Patented internal turbulation for high performing heat transfer
- Easy mounting and installation
- The cooler aligns easily for simple installation
- Developed using quality parts, e.g. micro louvered cooling fins
- Complete kit including extra transmission hose, clamps, and necessary mounting hardware.
Hayden 679 – Best High GVW Transmission Cooler For The Cost
Another great transmission cooler from Hayden is their 679. This cooler offers good cooling capacity to keep your transmission temperature in nice and cool. Apart from class A motor homes, this cooler is great for large travel trailers and fourth wheel trailers.
It comes with that patented internal turbulation developed by Hayden for increased heat transfer and therefore stable heat removal. With a compact plate and fin cooling system, the Hayden 679 is able to handle most demanding cooling tasks.
Just like the 678, the Hayden 679 comes with pre-drilled mounting holes to make the installation quick and easy. If you’re looking for a highly efficient easy to install, the Hayden 679 plate and fin cooler might be the cooler for you.
Note: The Hayden 679 is one of the best all around transmission coolers on the market. So much so that it is also recommended in our drag racing and towing guide. For the cost, it is hard to beat this cooler no matter your intended uses.
What We Like About The Hayden 679:
- Easy to install
- Patented FLOW PATH DESIGN internal turbulation to increase heat transfer with minimal pressure
- High GVWR capacity and reasonable towing capacity
- Comes as a complete transmission cooler kit
What we don’t like About The Hayden 679:
- You may have to get creative with some additional parts to mount it on some vehicles
Hayden 677 – Best Low Cost Transmission Cooler
It comes in a compact, unique plate and fin design for high performing heat transfer. The Hayden 677 is a premium cooler that is compatible with OEM cooler systems.
For easy installation, the cooler comes with pre-drilled mounting plates just like the other two Hayden transmission coolers we evaluated. The purchase includes all the required hardware to do a proper installation. Equipped with internal tribulation, you can rely on this cooler to transfer heat with a minimal pressure drop.
Looking for a cooler for medium duty cooling capacity, try the Hayden 677. You will find this aluminum built cooler to be effective for your cooling requirements. This cooler will be perfect for any daily driven vehicle where there is less demand for increased transmission cooling, but can do the job at a low cost.
What we like About The Hayden 677:
- Patented internal turbulation for efficient heat transfer
- Designed for easy installation
- High-efficiency cooling system for colder working transmission and better shifting
- It is an economical and effective way to keep transmission cool
What We Don’t Like About The Hayden 677:
- You may have to buy some extra parts, e.g. tubing to complete installation
B&M Transmission Coolers
B&M is one of the most popular names in transmission fluid coolers, and rightfully so. Their designed with high quality aluminum and feature an efficient stacked plate design. While they might be a little more costly than other brands, with B&M you get what you pay for in terms of quality.
B&M 70268 – Excellent Durable Design
Looking for a sturdy stacked plate transmission cooler for your vehicle? Check out the B&M 70268. It is designed with an elegant flux less oven brazed aluminum alloy. The black finish is nice to look at, but apart from visual appeal, it makes the cooler resistant to external damage, and is also vibration resistant. With multiple oil flow paths, you can depend on this cooler for high-performance cooling.
Apart from assisting its cooling efficiency, the size and weight of the 70268 helps mitigate risk of lube system failure. If that’s not enough, you get an installation kit upon purchase to aid in mounting the cooler.
This cooling system is able to monitor the transmission fluid being re-fed into the transmission. Using viscosity, the cooler selectively separates transmission fluid. Thinner fluid is held at the core to cool while thicker fluid is transferred through the bypass opening.
Looking for a cooler that is durable and sturdy, try the B&M 70268. It is a lightweight stack plate designed cooler to help with your cooling requirements without failure
What We Like About The B&M 70268:
- Well built with aluminum alloy for high performance and durability
- Offers a vibration-free experience
- Comes with an installation kit to help with the mounting
- Built to resist leaks
What We Don’t Like About The B&M 70268:
- You may have a hard time fitting and mounting this cooler
- Although it comes with an installation kit, some customers state that they’ve had to buy some additional parts.
B&M 70264 – Most Dependable Transmission Cooler
One of the most common B&M coolers is the 70264 super cooler. It is an efficient high-performance cooler constructed with a black finish aluminum alloy, you get maximum resistance against corrosion and abrasion. This resistance will ensure that the cooler will serve you for a long time.
The 70264 is pressure tested to up to 250 PSI for a leak free high-quality cooler. With its stacked plate design and multiple oil flow paths, it can efficiently reduce the temperature of transmission fluid to suitable ranges.
You can rely on the B&M 70264 to perform at a much higher capacity than the traditional fin and tube cooler. You may appreciate the vibration resistance that comes with this device from the oven brazed fluxless construction.
Like the B&M 70298, this cooler can selectively manage the transmission fluid in your vehicle for optimum functioning. The thick fluid is separated from the thin fluid and cooled at different capacities. While the thick fluid returns to the transmission, the thin fluid remains at the core to cool.
If you’re looking for a well-built transmission cooler to effectively cool, the B&M 70264 is the ticket. The biggest benefit of utilizing the 70264 is that despite its compact design, it is extremely effective.
What We Like About The B&M 70264
- Universal application
- Straight forward easy installation
- Resilient model with high-performance cooling
- includes full transmission cooler kit
- Compact design
What We Don’t Like About The B&M 70264:
- Shallow instructions list to verify all the parts you are supposed to have are present.
After having personally used this transmission cooler on a number of occasions, I can attest to the effectiveness this cooler provides. This cooler was used on a personal daily driven street / strip car with a high stall converter, and a full size Silverado pickup truck, both with 4l60e transmissions.
With both vehicles, transmission temperatures were no higher than 175 in most driving situations while being used in addition to the factory cooler in the radiator. For the normal driver, this is one of the best transmission coolers to use with a 4l60e transmission.
B&M 70298 with Fan – Best Transmission Cooler With A Fan
The B&M 70298 transmission cooler comes with an automated Spal fan to assist in extra cooling capacity. Additionally equipped with 10 rows, this is ideal for difficult cooling jobs.
It is a fin and plate cooler designed with a 175-degree thermostat to control the on and off feature of the fan automatically. Notably, this fan pulls about 6 amps to keep your engine oil and transmission fluid cool and within the right operating temperature. It is pressure tested to 200 PSI to ensure you get a well-developed, leak free transmission cooling system.
This cooler is great for race situations, RVs, towing, and even street performance vehicles. An elegant black finish ensures this cooler matches the inside of any vehicle it is installed.
The B&M 70298 is a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable high cooling capacity transmission cooler with a fan. It works with both engine and transmissions to ensure your vehicle’s fluid temperatures where you want them.
What We Like About The B&M 70298:
- It is universal and can be adapted into several vehicles, just as long as you have the room for it.
- Intense cooling capacity with dual cooling action of the fan and fin-plate cooling systems
- Comes with built-in mounting brackets for easy installation
- Suitable for all fluid cooling needs
What We Don’t Like About The B&M 70298:
- Might need to get creative with fitment
- There are complaints about the automated fan failing to turn on
Derale Transmission Coolers
Derale 13504 series 8000 – Sturdy Design With Excellent Cooling Capacity
The Derale 13504 cooler comes in a 24-row design with a black finish. It is a great cooling system for full-size cars like SUVs and trucks that are often used to tow or do medium heavy-duty tasks.
This plate and fin type cooler is made with plastic cooling fin guards and a sturdy aluminum body. Constructed furnace brazed aluminum makes the transmission cooler resistant to corrosion and abrasion.
Turbulence coolers in the tube help to agitate the fluid for maximum heat transfer, with minimal pressure drop. This is but one of the features that help to optimize the Derale 13504 for maximum cooling functionality. Upon purchase, it comes with a complete hardware kit to make installation quick and simple.
If you’re looking for a sturdy cooler to suit medium to light heavy-duty tasks, this might be the transmission cooler that you need. It’s efficiently built for maximum output.
What We Like About The Derale 13504:
- Durable yet functional design
- It is a great size to fit into tight spaces
- Comes with a hardware kit for easy installation
What We Don’t Like About The Derale 13504:
- There are complaints regarding the integrity of the included hose and other parts useful during installation. Based on this, we suggest getting different transmission hose if you are going to use rubber lines.
Derale 13403 Series 10000 – Well Built, Durable Transmission Cooler
The 13403 19-row transmission cooler by Derale is a good stacked plate cooler option. You get a high performance and durable item with this purchase. The cooler is fixed with turbulators that agitate the fluid to facilitate heat transfer and hasten the cooling process.
It comes with a furnace blazed all aluminum design which not only adds to its functionality as cooler but also to its durability. The aluminum is resilient to external wear and tear, guaranteeing you a long-lasting cooler.
Each 13403 cooler is pressure tested to 250 PSI to ensure there are no leaks within the system. It is suitable for many vehicles, especially those with 5/16 inch cooler lines. Upon purchase, you get a hardware kit and 6-AN aluminum fittings for easy installation.
If you’re looking for a cooler that will extend your transmission life by controlling heat failures and improve shift performance, the 19-row Derale 13403 might be the cooler for you.
FUN FACT: It comes with 19 rows of stack plates, hence its name.
What We Like About The Derale 13403:
- Fits a variety of vehicles
- It is sturdily built and comes with a hardware kit for easy installation
- Made with furnace blazed aluminum to optimize functionality and offer resistance to external damage
- Pressure tested cooler for zero leaks
What We Don’t Like About The Derale 13403:
- If you are not using the fittings provided, you might find it hard to get non-leaky fittings alternative
Other Transmission Coolers
While the previously listed transmission coolers are all very popular and have common brand names, that doesn’t mean that is all there is to offer. The following coolers are great products, and can be used in most common applications.
Dorman 918-216 – Best Factory Replacement Transmission Cooler
If you are looking for a replacement for your truck or SUV’s external factory cooler, the Dorman 918-216 cooler is a great candidate. You will appreciate the aluminum construction for a high performing long lasting cooler. This transmission cooler is built for a direct replacement, making installation quite easy. It is capable of checking any fluid leaks within the system.
Unlike other coolers available in the market, the Dorman 918-216 is built to last and endure against the elements. The finishing coat on this cooler is not only a decorative black but gives it its anti-corrosive capabilities.
You may want to consider this cooler by Dorman if you’re looking for a durable, high-performance hassle-free transmission cooler. This cooler will allow you to directly replace your existing external cooler and allow you to use the existing transmission cooler lines.
What We Like About The Dorman 918-216:
- Built with original, quality parts to give you a reliable, durable cooler
- Easy to install
- Cheaper alternative to similar functioning coolers present in the market
What We Don’t Like About The Dorman 918-216:
- You may have to buy some additional parts for fittings if your vehicle specs do not match the cooler
Ultra-Cool Four Seasons 53001 – Best Tube and Fin Transmission Cooler For Daily Drivers
The 53001 cooler is a generic tube and fin style transmission oil cooler designed with 3/8 inch connectors to fit a range of vehicles. It comes with nylon mounting parts that go through the radiator. These are meant to make installation easy.
This cooler comes with high-efficiency turbulators for effective cooling. Before dispatch, the transmission cooler is pressure tested to up to 150 PSI for quality assurance purposes.
You may appreciate the ultrasonic soldering to ensure you get a reliable cooler. With 6 rows and a traditional tube and fin design, this cooler is made to reduce the temperature significantly.
You may want to give the Four Seasons 53001 a second look if you’re searching for an efficient tube and fin design. This well-built cooler is compatible with OEM cooler systems.
What We Like About The Ultra-Cool Four Seasons 53001:
- Works well without leaks
- Fasteners that come with the kit make installation ideal for most applications
- Well built for high-performance cooling
- Generic make to suit many car makes
What We Don’t Like About The Ultra-Cool Four Seasons 53001:
- It is a challenge to install you may have to buy some additional parts to mount properly
Transmission Cooler Buying Tips
When it comes to purchasing a transmission cooler for your car, truck, or SUV, it is important to understand your needs, and how much cooling capacity you need. In addition, below are some other factors that need to be taken into account as well.
Efficiency – this is the obvious thing to look into when buying a transmission cooler. Assessing a transmission cooler by your vehicle’s needs and the cooler’s capacity are important factors. If you have a simple car you use to get to work everyday, a basic tube and fin cooler may be best. However, if you have a truck that tows often, a large stacked plate cooler might be more up your alley.
Compatibility – purchase a cooler that is compatible with your automobile. I’m not talking about how it aligns; this is important too. A compatible cooler should suit the cooling requirement of your vehicle.
Ease of installation – If you are looking to install a transmission cooler yourself, it is best to get one that won’t be too complicated. If this is your first time installing a transmission cooler, it is recommended to get one that comes as a complete kit.
Reviews – before you click that final buy button, you may want to go through the reviews section. Reviews give you a generally unbiased outlook on the functionality of the cooler. The specs may look great on paper but how well does the cooler actually perform?
Choosing a transmission cooler is a delicate balance of a number of factors. Before you can settle on one choice, make sure to evaluate all of your options, and see which cooler would be best based on your vehicle specs and cooling requirements.
If you want, you can make a comparative checklist and see which transmission oil cooler suits you best. If you think your vehicle’s transmission temperatures are too high, or you are looking to add a cooler for extra insurance, be sure to choose a cooler that’s best for your application. It is important to understand what your transmission needs and select the best transmission cooler to help solve these needs for a well performing long lasting transmission.