Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Oil Cooler

Our certified mechanics come to you · 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

GET A QUOTE Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront
Red-stars EXCELLENT RATING ON

Cost of Replacing a Bad or Failing Oil Cooler

Common signs include oil or coolant leaking from the oil cooler, oil getting in the cooling system, and coolant getting in the oil. Our certified technicians can come to you and diagnose the problem. You will receive a $30 credit towards any follow-up repairs that result from the diagnostic. Following are example prices for Oil Cooler Repair. Click on the button below to get an upfront quote for your car.

Cars Estimate Parts Cost Labor Cost Savings Average Dealer Price
2007 Nissan Xterra $682 $584.06 $98.00 7% $734.56
2006 Toyota RAV4 $259 $161.25 $98.00 16% $311.75
2004 Kia Spectra $677 $600.21 $77.00 5% $718.46
2007 Lincoln Town Car $620 $521.61 $98.00 7% $672.11
2006 Lexus RX400h $362 $264.21 $98.00 12% $414.71
2010 Audi S4 $216 $97.13 $119.00 22% $279.88
GET A QUOTE FOR YOUR CAR Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront

How to Diagnose a Bad or Failing Oil Cooler?

oil cooler

The oil cooler on any production vehicle is an essential engine component designed to keep modern cars, trucks, and SUVs running smoothly on the roads they travel daily. Whether you have a 2016 BMW or an older, yet reliable 1996 Nissan Sentra, the fact remains that the cooling system on any vehicle must be in working order during all types of weather and driving conditions. Although most drivers never have interaction with their oil coolers, keeping them in working order will extend their lifespan. However, like any other mechanical component, they can and often will wear out.

The purpose of the engine oil cooler is to allow the engine’s cooling system to remove excess heat from the oil. These types of coolers are usually of the water-to-oil type of heat exchanger. In most vehicles on the road, engine oil is fed to the oil coolers from an adapter that is located between the engine block and the engine oil filter. The oil then flows through the tubes of the cooler while the engine coolant flows around the tubes. The heat from the oil is transferred through the walls of the tubes to the surrounding coolant similar in many ways to the operation of an indoor air conditioning for residential homes. The heat absorbed by the engine’s cooling system is then transferred to the air as it passes through the vehicle’s radiator, which is located in front of the engine behind the grille of the vehicle.

If the vehicle is serviced as required, including routine oil and filter changes, the oil cooler should last as long as the vehicle's engine or other major mechanical components. However, there are some occasions where staying on top of maintenance will not prevent all damage potential for an oil cooler. When this component begins to wear out or has broken, it will display a few warning signs. Noted below are a few of these symptoms that can alert a driver that their oil cooler may need to be replaced.

1. Oil leaking from oil cooler

One of the components that are part of the oil cooling system is the oil cooler adapter. The adapter connects oil lines to the cooler itself and another adapter sends "cooled" oil back into the oil pan. Within the adapter is a gasket or rubber o-ring. If the oil cooler adapter fails externally, engine oil may be forced out of the engine. If the leak is small, you may notice a puddle of engine oil on the ground underneath your vehicle or quite possibly a stream of oil on the ground behind your vehicle.

If you notice any oil leaking under your engine, it's always recommended to contact a professional mechanic so they can determine where the leak is coming from and repair it quickly. As oil leaks, the engine loses ability to lubricate itself. This could result in increased engine temperature and premature parts wear due to increased friction from the lack of proper lubrication.

2. Engine coolant leaking from oil cooler

Similar to a loss of oil, an external oil cooler failure may force all of the engine coolant out of the engine. Whether the coolant leak is large or small, you will eventually overheat the engine if it isn’t repaired quickly. If the leak is small, you may notice coolant puddling on the ground underneath your vehicle. If the leak is a large one, you will probably notice steam pouring out from under the hood of your vehicle. As with the above symptom, it's important to contact a professional mechanic as soon as you notice a coolant leak. If enough coolant leaks from the radiator or oil cooler, it can result in engine overheating problems and mechanical component failure.

3. Oil in the cooling system

If the oil cooler adapter fails internally, you may notice engine oil in your cooling system. This happens because when the engine is running, oil pressure is greater than cooling system pressure. Oil is forced into the cooling system. This will eventually cause a lack of lubrication and can severely damage your engine.

4. Coolant in the oil

When the engine is not running and the cooling system is pressurized, coolant can be forced from the cooling system into the oil pan. High oil pan levels can damage the engine by the crankshaft slapping the oil as it rotates.

Any of these symptoms will require flushes of both the cooling system and the engine to remove all of the contaminated liquids. The oil cooler adapter, if it is the failed component, will require replacement. The oil cooler will also need to be flushed or replaced.

oil pressure
coolant
oil cooler
Radiators

Fast and easy Oil Cooler Repair service at your home or office.

GET A QUOTE FOR YOUR CAR
Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront

Recent Oil Cooler Repair reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic Oil Cooler Repair Service

Average Rating

4.5/5

Number of Reviews

18

Rating Summary
16
1
0
0
1
16
1
0
0
1

Steve

37 years of experience
73 reviews
Steve
37 years of experience
Very knowledgeable and fast at a fair price. Highly recommended.
1996 FORD TAURUS - OIL COOLER - WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA

Troy

37 years of experience
56 reviews
Troy
37 years of experience
Troy was awesome. He was very knowledgeable and friendly. He made me feel confident in the work that he did.
2007 MAZDA CX-7 - OIL COOLER - PHOENIX, ARIZONA

Lucas

18 years of experience
767 reviews
Lucas
18 years of experience
Always very good job!
2007 BMW 530I - OIL COOLER - VAN NUYS, CALIFORNIA

Kyle

8 years of experience
68 reviews
Kyle
8 years of experience
Came right on time and fixed the problem. Great service and Kyle was really knowledgeable and great to work with. I will definitely be calling on him again for any other service needs.
2009 MAZDA CX-7 - OIL COOLER - FULTON, MARYLAND

More related articles

Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance...

Related questions

Q: Q: Oil pressure sensor

There are a few common reasons to get a trouble code for low oil pressure. There could be a low oil level, failed oil pressure sensor, a wiring problem, oil that needs to be changed, an engine that has worn...

Q: Car overheats aftr 10 mins of idle, but heater blows cold air. Trapped air noises? 2003 Audi A4

Hello - you have at least one cooling system problem that could be causing all of the symptoms, or more than one problem. The cooling system was not properly bled, and still big air pockets. This will cause overheating for...

Q: Having problems with transmission cooler connectors leaking with a new radiator.

The new radiator most likely did not come with new quick connectors for the transmission cooler lines going into the radiator. You had to remove the old ones from the bad radiator and transfer them into the new radiator. The...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1-800-701-6230 · hi@yourmechanic.com