If You Use Your Vehicle to Tow, Keep an Eye on This Component

Posted on: 16 July 2021

Do you have plans to tow a heavy trailer or caravan soon? If so, you may have decided to take up a new hobby or take your family away on an extended, self-contained holiday, but either way, you need to ensure that your car or towing vehicle is up to the task. While you will undoubtedly need to think about the towing weight and other legal requirements, you also need to ensure that your engine can take the strain. Why do you need to focus on your oil cooler as a matter of priority?

Essential Cooling System

Many modern-day vehicles are fitted with an oil cooler as standard. This particular component is especially important for high-performance motors and if the vehicle is fitted with automatic transmission.

Protecting the Oil

As you may know, the oil within your engine can reach extreme temperatures under load. Although the oil is carefully engineered to ensure that it can cope, it may nevertheless start to lose its efficiency if it needs to operate at very high temperatures for long periods of time.

If the oil does overheat in this way when you are towing, you may notice that the oil temperature gauge is alarmingly high. This is a challenging situation as, if repeated often, it can eventually lead to internal damage.

How the Cooler Works

The oil cooler is meant to divert engine and transmission oil away from the primary components to a front-facing radiator mechanism. You'll find a matrix of narrow fins designed to expose the surface area to oncoming airflow within the radiator. When the vehicle is in motion, air will be forced over the surface of this matrix and will cool down the oil before it returns to the primary components.

When Things Go Wrong

As the radiator is forward facing, it is vulnerable to damage. Also, road debris can accumulate on its surface, ranging from dead bugs to small leaves or other detritus. When this happens, the air will be unable to reach those cooling fins, and the oil cooler will not do its job.

In addition, connecting hoses may, over time, begin to perish. This can lead to an oil leak or, in certain circumstances, the oil may mix with engine coolant. This can also lead to a loss in efficiency or damage elsewhere if left unchecked.

Regular Observation

This is why it is so important for you to take the vehicle to a mechanic for regular service. They will be able to clean the surface of the cooler radiator as needed and check on pipe integrity at the same time. In the worst-case scenario, they may need to flush out the engine cooling system to ensure that it is working efficiently. You will then be able to tow your caravan or trailer without too much worry.