How to Remove Oil Cooler Lines from Radiator DIY

Whenever you have to go under your vehicle’s hood, a detailed guide is something you should never lack. This article will show you how to remove oil cooler lines from radiator in your car’s combustion system.

Oil cooler lines are significant parts of your car which you cannot obviously neglect. As long as your engine gets to be used, the engine oil will need to be cooled, and this cooling cannot be possible when your cooler lines are damaged.

These cooler lines basically connect the oil filter to the radiator for heat exchange purposes. So, if you must remove or replace these lines at any point, you must first talk about removing them from the radiator.

Dorman 625-168 Engine Oil Cooler Hose Assembly Compatible with Select Cadillac / Chevrolet / GMC Models
  • Ideal replacement - this engine oil cooler hose assembly is a...
  • Quality materials - this engine oil cooler hose assembly is made...
  • Easy to install - no special tools required
  • Quality tested - rigorous quality control ensure this hose...
  • Ensure fit - to make sure this part fits your exact vehicle,...

Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

9 Steps to Remove Oil Cooler Lines from Radiator:

When the oil cooler lines become too old or probably start to leak, it simply means it’s time for a change. Removing oil cooler lines from your car’s radiator is achievable, and you can do it yourself.

Tools Required:

You will need the following tools to correctly remove these lines without damaging anything in your car’s system:

  • Carjack
  • Jack stand
  • Chokes
  • Penetrating catalyst, e.g., PB Blaster
  • Drain pan
  • 15mm socket
  • Clamping tool
  • 18mm tubing wrench
  • Hammer
  • Picker
GM Genuine Parts 84828848 Engine Oil Cooler Hose Kit with Bracket, Gasket and Bolt, Black
  • Durable material designed to handle high temperature oil...
  • GM-recommended replacement part for your GM vehicle’s original...
  • Offering the quality, reliability, and durability of GM OE
  • Manufactured to GM OE specification for fit, form, and function

Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The steps below are helpful if you ever intend to replace cooler lines like the Chevy oil cooler lines:

You can choose to carry out the removal process from an upward position by raising your car’s hood. You can also choose to raise your car and get underneath the hood – especially for the bottom cooler line.

Raise and Balance Your Car

Elevate your car from ground level using a suitable jack. When your car is up, balance its weight with a jack stand and the back tires with suitable chokes. You don’t want to have any movement while you’re underneath the car.

Locate Your Car’s Radiator

If you’ve never removed oil cooler lines by yourself, you have to know what they are and where they are located. Car radiators are typically installed under the hood, and you’ll find the cooler lines closest to the driver’s side.

Spray the Joints

Spray some penetrating catalysts like PB Blaster on the points at which the lines are connected to the radiator. Penetrating catalysts help the quick disconnect fitting remove very fast – irrespective of how long it’s been tightened.

Drain the Oil

If you don’t mind dealing with all the messiness that comes with dripping engine oil, you can skip this step.

To drain the oil, first, place your drain pan underneath the oil pan to catch the oil. Then use a 15mm socket to remove the oil drain plug to give oil free flow from the pain.

Remove the Radiator Hose

If you are working from above the hood, your top radiator hose may not allow you enough freedom around the top oil cooler line. Using a clamping tool, pinch the hose clamp together and gently pull it out by vertical pendulum movements.

Remove the Top Line

To remove the top line, use an 18mm tubing wrench. It has a better grip than an open-end one.

Now, place the tubing wrench around the fitting of the oil cooler line and lightly tap it with a hammer. Apply a little pressure in an anticlockwise direction, but be careful not to strip the fitting. Metal shavings are not nice for your car’s cooler.

As soon as the fitting becomes loose, keep your tools away, and unscrew by hand.

Remove the Bottom Line

Pull out the rubber sealant you find around the fitting of the bottom coolant line to expose the fitting. The sealant is there to prevent oil leaks due to the force of gravity.

When you reveal the disconnect clip, gently pull it out with a picker. Now place your wrench on the fitting, and turn it gently until it comes off.

If you notice that the fitting is about to strip at any point, stop turning it and apply some more blaster. You can also use a smaller wrench to reduce the chances of stripping.

Disconnect the Lines

Oil cooler lines are quite long and cannot be left dangling around a car’s system. They are usually clamped together at various points between the radiator and the oil filter.

You’ll find that both lines are held around the brake by a bracket for a Chevy truck. Gently wriggle out the bracket to detach the lines.

Also, remove the clips that hold the lines in place close to the oil filter to completely detach the lines from the cooling system.

Installing New Cooler Lines

When you’ve removed old or damaged oil cooler lines from your radiator, you’ll need to replace them with new ones. To do this, first ensure that the you are fixing the right lines on both ends of the radiator. The one that passes through the top is usually longer than the one going through the bottom.

Afterwards, check for the o' rings and the disconnect fitting on both ends of each line. If everything is intact, go ahead and install the new lines using the same tools you used for removal.

Don't forget to clamp them together at the brakes, and through the shroud. Replace your shroud, refill your oil, and then return your car to ground level.

The Purpose of Oil Cooler Lines

Oil cooler lines are two pipes that create a connection between the radiator and the engine’s oil filter. The lines are made from rubber and metal and help in the heat transfer process in engine oil.

Oil cooler lines are most common in large or turbo-charged engines that produce a lot of heat. They are positioned to regulate the temperature of engine oil when it heats up beyond 180 degrees.

During the combustion process in a car’s engine, the supply line moves super-heated oil from the oil filter to the radiator for cooling. The return line then transports the cooled oil back to the oil filter to be used by the combustion engine.

Oil Cooler Lines Leaking at Radiator

Oil cooler lines are made from high-quality chrome stainless steel and rubber. They are made from durable materials because they carry hot, high-pressure oil from the engine’s combustion process.

For heavy-duty vehicles like Chevy trucks and SUVs, the temperature of the oil leaving through these lines can be up to 200 degrees.

Oil cooler lines are attached to the top (supply) and bottom (return) sections of a radiator by o’ rings, bolts, and rubber sealants.

However, leakages at these points of connection are not uncommon. Some conditions can cause oil cooler lines to leak at the radiator. They are:


The metallic part of an oil cooler line may corrode internally, giving high-pressure oil to leak from it. Rusting is also very common with the line that runs underneath the radiator, as it is more exposed to external elements.

Loose Sealants and O’ rings

O’ rings secure oil cooler lines to the quick disconnect fitting on the radiator. Whenever you fail to secure these rings properly, you’re likely going to have oil seeping out of your oil cooler lines.

On the other hand, rubber sealants secure spring clips in place and ensure it does not move during engine vibrations. If, however, this sealant is not tightly secured around the juncture, leakage can occur.

Impact, Wear, and Tear

Hitting your engine area on any surface while driving can damage the connection between oil cooler lines and your radiator. A leak can result.

When you have oil cooler lines leaking at the radiator, it can inhibit the heat displacement process of your engine. And, of course, you’ll go low on oil – faster.

When to Replace Oil Cooler Lines

You don’t have to wait until faulty oil cooler lines cause your car’s engine severe damage before replacing them. There are subtle signs that could be pointing to a need to get those lines replaced as soon as possible:

The Presence of Bends and Crimps

When you find that your oil cooler lines are bent or damaged on the surface, you need to replace them fast. Bends can restrict the proper circulation of oil around your car’s engine, which can be hazardous.

Reduced Oil Levels

You should check your car's oil level regularly. When you notice that your car’s engine level is unusually low, it is an indication that your engine oil cooler lines need a replacement.

Oil Spills

If you find oil spills underneath your car when you did not do any recent repair work on it, it means a leak has occurred. And such leaks will most likely come from faulty or loose engine oil cooler lines.

Combusting Oil Odor

When engine oil trickles down to your car’s exhaust, it produces a burning odor. Hopefully, you won’t wait until you begin to perceive a burning odor before replacing your cooler lines.

How to remove Transmission Cooler Lines from Radiator

Transmissions, just like combustion engines, generate a substantial amount of heat when a car runs. So, transmission cooler lines connected to your radiator helps to displace this heat.

These transmission cooler lines carry hot transmission fluid away from the transmission to the radiator, where the fluid is cooled. These cooler lines then return the cooled fluid to the transmission for further use.

Dorman 624-284 Automatic Transmission Oil Cooler Hose Assembly Compatible with Select Chrysler/Dodge/Ram Models, Silver
  • Direct replacement - this automatic transmission oil cooler hose...
  • Ideal solution - engineered to help ensure proper transmission...
  • Durable construction - made of quality materials for reliable...
  • Trustworthy quality - backed by a team of product experts in the...
  • Ensure fit - to make sure this part fits your exact vehicle,...

Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When your transmission lines are damaged or begin to leak, then you may need to remove and replace them. To remove transmission cooler lines from your radiator, all you need is a picking tool.

Lisle 39660 1/2" x 3/8" Transmission Oil Cooler Line Scissor
  • Stepped Design with Two Sizes to Work on Ford and Cadillac...
  • Similar in function to our 39960 plastic model but made from...
  • Use 3/8’’ size for 2003 - 2010 Ford V8 Explorer, 2004 and...
  • Use 1/2’’ size for Ford Super Duty Trucks, F250, F350 and...
  • Made in USA

Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The transmission lines are made from high-quality rubber and attached to the radiator with spring clips. To remove them, first push back the rubber sealant from around the attachment point.

Then gently pick out the clip, ensuring that you gauge it with your free hand, so it doesn’t bounce off.

Once you take out the clip, gently pull out the line, ensuring you have something to catch the excess fluid in the pipe.


1. How Do You Remove Oil Cooler Lines?

The steps in this article reveal clear and straightforward ways to remove oil cooler lines from your radiator. Take a better look.

2. How Do I Know If My Oil Cooler is Leaking?

The only way to visibly notice an oil cooler leak is by checking for engine oil drops around your engine system or your parking area.

3. How Much Does It Cost to Fix an Oil Cooler Leak?

What you spend fixing an oil cooler leak would depend on the cause of the leak and your car’s build. But be prepared to spend an average of $200 to fix any oil cooler leak.

4. What Should You Look for While Replacing the Old Cooler Lines?

While replacing old cooler lines with new ones, the most important thing to look out for is the length of the new lines..

For vehicles like the Chevy truck, the line connecting to the top of the radiator is usually longer than the bottom. You want to make sure you fix the correct pipe length at each spot.

5. Is It Possible to Remove the Oil Cooler Without Draining Coolant?

Yes. You can remove an oil cooler without draining the coolant by removing the cooler lines attached to the coolant before uncoupling it.


If you ever thought removing oil cooler lines were for professional mechanics, this guide should prove you wrong. This DIY guide is a cheaper alternative when you think of removing oil cooler lines from the radiator.

It is also easy to follow and spares you the risk of driving a car with a faulty oil cooler line to the auto shop.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top