What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Oil Cooler?

Your car must have a working oil coolant system for the proper functioning of any vehicle’s engine components. We all are aware that the oil provides lubrication and helps in the appropriate working of the engine. As a result, this cooling system is essential to cool down those parts of the engine that are connected and constantly moving.

Generally, a vehicle’s cooling system is responsible for keeping the oil temperature in a normal range. If somehow the engine’s cooling system fails, the oil pressure will increase, and it will cause a leak of the engine oil. The oil leak is not the only prominent sign, and other symptoms indicate an oil cooler failure. If you want to avoid severe engine problems, you must look out for your car’s engine oil.

Symptoms of Bad Oil Coolers

Below we have mentioned the common symptoms of a failed engine oil cooler.

Symptoms Of Bad Oil Coolers

1. Oil Leaking

One significant sign that indicates engine oil cooler failure is an oil leak. It is healthy to adopt the habit of seeing the ground for any possible oil leaks daily. You immediately need to visit the repair shop or consult a mechanic to know where this oil is leaking from. If you fail to notice this problem earlier, your engine will face excess heat because of the reduced oil cooler. As a result, you can experience engine damage or decrease engine performance because the temperature rises above the optimal temperature.

2. Leaking of the Engine Oil Cooler

The engine oil coolers are responsible for cooling the engine. However, this coolant will leak out from the oil lines in case of a bad oil cooler. After most oil leaks, you may notice the engine oil cooler spilled under the car. On the other hand, if the leak is internal, you can see vibrations, reduced engine performance, black smoke, a rise in temperature, or engine vibrations. All these signs indicate engine damage.

3. Coolant Mixed With the Oil Inside

The cooling system is designed to prohibit any external contact with the coolant oil. However, when an oil cooler fails, the coolant flows from the tubes of the engine gaskets and mixes with the burning oil. This cooler oil, now combined with burning oil in the combustion chamber, can cause serious engine problems.

4. Black Smoke

Oil cooler gaskets are responsible for keeping the engine coolant away from combustion oil. However, an oil cooler gasket failure can mix both oils in the combustion chambers. Oil cooler, when burned alongside the combustion oil, generates black smoke. As a result, if you notice any change in the color of the smoke, there are chances that your oil cooler is faulty.

5. Decreased Performance of the Engine

A failed oil cooling system will increase the engine oil temperature, which directly affects the engine’s performance. For instance, you will notice a reduced acceleration due to a decrease in the cooled oil. Moreover, failure of the engine cooling system is also linked with a reduction in the top speed.

6. Vibrations in the Engine

Another symptom of a bad oil cooler is noticeable vibrations in the engine. You should never underestimate a vibrating engine because it happens when the oil cooler mixes with fuel in the combustion chamber. The vibrations result from small explosives that can cause significant problems if left unchecked. Thus, routine maintenance of your car is essential for the car and yourself.

7. Increased Temperature

Working oil cooler gasket helps the engine run smoothly. However, the engine oil leaks reduce the oil cooler, which means the parts will have less lubrication and more chances of friction. The increased friction will increase the engine temperature.

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Can I Ignore The Symptoms Of A Bad Oil Cooler?

No, you should never ignore any symptom that indicates a possible bad oil cooler gasket failure. These symptoms, if left unchecked, can cause severe and permanent damage to your car, and sometimes it is even dangerous for you to drive the car with a bad oil cooler. As a result, if you notice black smoke coming out of the silencer, you need to act immediately.

Can I Ignore The Symptoms Of A Bad Oil Cooler

What Are the Possible Reasons Behind an Oil Cooler Gasket Failure?

Following are a few possible reasons why you might face a bad oil cooler:

  • Any fault in the oil cooling system is quite rare. However, if you face this issue, there is a possibility that the cooling system was damaged right from the time it was installed in the car.
  • Corrosion or rusting of the internal parts can also cause a leak in the engine oil.
  • A minor accident could have torn the internal parts that separated the oil cooler from the rest of the parts.


To catch the problem of a bad oil cooler early, you need to keep physically inspecting your car. Early detection will help the engine run smoothly. Moreover, the oil cooler helps remove excess heat, which can save your car and even life if the issue is ignored for a long time. Thus, it is necessary to keep the cooling system properly working.

In most vehicles, bad oil coolers show the same symptoms mentioned above in this article. So, keep an eye out for these and let us know if you have any queries left unanswered.

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