The national cost for an engine oil cooler replacement in 2023 is between $145 and $900 with an average of $550​

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National average cost of a an Engine Oil Cooler Replacement
for popular vehicles:

Car Model

Avg. cost


What is an engine oil cooler and how does it work?

Engine oil is used to lubricate the internal moving parts inside your engine. As the oil passes over and through these components, it also cools them down by absorbing heat. When the oil becomes too hot, it begins to break down, to degrade. At that point, it no longer protects your engine as it should.

To prevent excessive heat from building up in the engine oil, some vehicles come equipped with an oil cooler. The oil cooler is usually an aluminum box with small tubes or passageways inside of it. Some of these passageways carry oil. Others carry engine coolant. A thin layer of aluminum separates the two liquids.

When oil passes through the oil cooler, some of its absorbed heat is transferred to the engine coolant. And, just as is the case with the rest of the engine cooling system, the coolant flows to the radiator where the heat dissipates into the atmosphere.


How do I know if my vehicle needs a new engine oil cooler?

Passing through the engine oil cooler are both oil and engine coolant, or “antifreeze”. Each liquid is present at a high temperature and under pressure. If the oil cooler develops a leak, a significant amount of fluid can be lost and lead to catastrophic engine failure. Additionally, if the partition that keeps the fluids separate deteriorates, oil and coolant can mix and cause problems.

Signs that your engine oil cooler is failing include:

An oil leak or coolant leak in the engine compartment or underneath the front of your vehicle

A sweet syrup smell in or near your vehicle

Your engine develops a knock

Your engine overheats

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How is a an Engine Oil Cooler Replacement done?

The engine oil cooler is usually located at the front of your vehicle mounted to the engine. In order to replace the component, a technician may need to remove splash shields or other parts for access. The service might also require that your vehicle be lifted and supported on a lift. While the specifics of engine oil cooler replacement might differ from one vehicle to the next, a technician will take the following general steps in addition to the ones mentioned above:

  • Disconnect the negative battery terminal, taking care to preserve the vehicle’s computer memory
  • Drain the cooling system
  • Disconnect the oil lines leading from the engine to the oil cooler
  • Remove any mounting screws or hardware
  • Remove the cooler and insert a new one
  • Re-attach the mounting screws
  • Reconnect the engine oil cooler lines
  • Re install any shields, guards, covers, or ducts that were removed
  • Refill the vehicle with engine coolant and purge the system of air
  • Top off the engine oil
  • Reconnect the battery terminal
  • Start the vehicle and verify no leaks are present

Other questions customers ask

What happens when an engine oil cooler fails?
When an engine oil cooler fails, your engine can lose oil, coolant, or both. Depending on the manner in which the cooler fails, oil and coolant can mix and contaminate one another. The results can be catastrophic to your engine since it needs both oil and coolant to operate.
Can I drive with an oil cooler leak?
You should not operate your vehicle with a leaking oil cooler. Driving with an engine oil cooler leak will eventually result in your engine losing a significant amount of oil, coolant, or both. Either situation can quickly lead to thousands of dollars of damage to your engine.
Are the oil cooler and the radiator the same thing?
No. An oil cooler is typically a separate device from the radiator. It is often bolted to the side or top of the engine block. Where a radiator contains coolant (antifreeze) used by the engine cooling system, the oil cooler has both coolant and oil running through it in order to remove heat from the oil.

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