Managing Engine, Transmission, Differential and Power Steering Fluid Temperatures

Managing Engine, Transmission, Differential and Power Steering Fluid Temperatures

Managing Engine, Transmission, Differential, and Power Steering Fluid Temperatures.

Oil Coolers, Fans, Gauges, Radiators, Thermostats

Hydraulic systems operate with pressure. Increased use and elevated pressure augment the fluid temperature. High fluid temperature causes seals to crack and performance to drop from reduced pressure. 

Jeep needs coolers

Slow off road driving with large tires increases stress on the power steering and the transmission fluids as well as the engine oil. This Jeep is a real candidate (see its tongue hanging out) for oil coolers, shrouds, and electric fans.

To be perfectly accurate we should use the term “thermal management” instead of “cooling.” Water and lubricant temperatures first need to come up to working temperature. Maintaining component temperatures via the coolant and the oil within an acceptable level is primordial in automotive engines, transmissions, differentials and power steering systems to ensure their longevity, reliability, and consistency.

Shelby Mustang

In the past few decades, economic and environmental conditions have combined with technological advances and consumer demandsto change the modern vehicle dramatically. 
This 2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500R is an example of passenger cars used during the week as "Grocery Getters" and on weekends they race at the local track.  

These changes challenge the design of every part of a vehicle. The new conditions have made it imperative to manage and monitor water and lubricant temperatures more closely in automotive components. Engines have become more powerful, and they produce more heat than those of earlier years. Modern engines turn higher RPM and their increased torque places an additional load on transmissions and rear axles. 


Oil thermostats are important to warm the oil

When using an oil cooler racers, tow-vehicle and heavy-duty equipment operators use oil thermostats to allow the oil to heat up quickly to avoid loss of pressure and to save time getting out on the road. An oil thermostat is imperative when the ambient temperature can drop below 50 degrees F. Thermostats are also needed with differentials and manual transmissions where the lubricant can be so thick that they lose their ability to flow properly.

The purpose of a thermostat is to bring the water or oil up to normal operating temperature more rapidly. The thermostat is essential in warming up the coolant or the lubricants before driving.

Tube and Fin cooler

Tube and Fin coolers are used for low-density fluids like automatic transmissions and power steering fluid. For high performance vehicles, Plate and Fin or Stacked Plate coolers have proven more efficient.

 Fast warm up in a passenger or performance car reduces fuel consumption as engines use more fuel when cold.

Ford power steering pump

Power steering pumps are sensitive mechanisms that require cool fluid. Some racers reduce the pump speed to save power but this only leads to overheated fluid. 



Elevated or too low oil or water temperatures affect performance and reliability. Coolers, ducts, and shrouds with remote mounts achieve temperature control in automotive fluids. Other devices that need thermal management include engines in forklifts, tractors, irrigation pumps, concrete pumps, welding equipment, RVs and air compressors.


Fans shrouds and coolers

Fans and shrouds are available through APPLIEDSPEED.COM. These can be used to cool transmissions, power steering units and engine oil. 


Stacked plate coolers are the strongest and most efficient of the coolers

Stacked plate coolers are the most efficient and sturdiest of the coolers. They are real racing coolers, but they are also used on performance cars, trucks; for engines, manual and automatic transmissions, rear ends and power steering units.These coolers have extruded tubes, and they are brazed.




Several parameters can increase the power steering fluid temperature where a cooler, and possibly a fan, become imperative. Larger wheels and tires, aerodynamic downforce, high caster and scrub radius settings on the front end, and any condition that requires continuous turning have an influence on power steering fluid temperature. 


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