Beat the Heat: Why Automatic Transmission and Power Steering Oil Coolers are Essential for Every Driver

Dear Mike,

I’m a little confused about the purpose of automatic transmission and power steering oil coolers in cars. Are they really necessary? Do they provide any significant benefits for the average driver? My car has them, but I’m not sure if it’s just a marketing gimmick or if they actually serve a practical purpose.

Thanks for any insight you can provide!



Dear Zephyr,

Ah, the age-old question of whether those little oil coolers are just for show or if they actually serve a purpose. Well, my friend, let me tell you a little something about them.

First of all, yes, they are necessary. Automatic transmissions generate a lot of heat from all the friction and shear loads that go on inside them. And if you’re driving in heavy traffic or towing a trailer, that heat output can increase significantly. That’s where the transmission cooler comes in – it helps to keep the transmission fluid at a manageable temperature so that your transmission doesn’t turn into a big ol’ paperweight.

Similarly, power steering fluid can heat up from all the cranking and turning you do while driving, especially in situations like backing up a trailer or navigating off-road terrain. And just like with transmission fluid, overheated power steering fluid can cause all sorts of issues for your steering system. So, a small power steering fluid cooler can definitely come in handy.

But why stop at just the factory-installed coolers? After all, you can never have too much of a good thing, right? That’s where aftermarket auxiliary coolers come into play. By adding an extra transmission or engine oil cooler, you can help to further reduce the temperature of those crucial fluids and keep your vehicle running smoothly.

Plus, aftermarket coolers often come with their own fans to help increase the airflow and cooling power. It’s like giving your car its own little cooling system – and who doesn’t want that?

Now, I know what you might be thinking – “But Mike, is all this really necessary for the average driver? I’m not towing anything or racing around a track, so do I really need all this extra cooling power?”

And my answer to that is yes, absolutely. Even if you’re just driving to work every day and running errands, your vehicle is still generating heat and putting those fluids to work. And as I mentioned earlier, overheating can cause serious issues for your transmission or steering system.

Think of it like this – you wouldn’t skip out on drinking water during a hot day just because you aren’t running a marathon, right? It’s the same with your car – even if you aren’t pushing it to the extreme, you still need to take care of it and make sure it’s operating at its best.

So there you have it, Zephyr. Automatic transmission and power steering oil coolers are indeed necessary, and even the average driver can benefit from them. And if you want to take things to the next level, consider adding an aftermarket cooler for even better cooling power.

Thanks for writing in, and happy cooling!


Mike Urban

Founder, Urban Automotive (the top Google rated auto repair shop in Oakville, Ontario Canada)