Oil Cooler & Thermostatic Sandwich Plate 101 – What and Why?

Any vehicle's cooling system should have more than a radiator, especially a high-performance car or a large truck. There is no doubt that heat can be an engine killer; although most drivers never experience a high temperature of oil, those who tow heavy loads or like to race may share it.

There are chances that your vehicle might have a thermostatic oil cooler, and if it doesn’t, then it is necessary to have one. With an oil cooler, you can keep the engine oil within its optimum temperature to make sure that it can handle any extreme conditions.

What is an oil cooler?

It is a component similar to a radiator and is specially designed to keep the oil cool. The oil cooler has tubes and fins that allow airflow to pass through it. Typically, the air cooler is placed to receive maximum airflow, like in front or behind the radiator or the fan.

An oil cooler can extend the engine's life by ensuring that any high-wear engine components like the cam bearings, piston rings, and skirts are lubricated. The only issue with the oil cooler is that it can keep the oil cold, but when the engine is first started, the oil temperature remains the same as the ambient temperature, and this is why you need a thermostatic oil cooler.

Which vehicles need oil coolers?

Oil cooler can be used with any vehicle, but those involved with high-performance or heavy-duty situations usually need one. These include heavy-duty pickup trucks, semi-trucks, and sports vehicles. However, it can be used with a regular car, if you tow a great deal.

When the conditions are extreme, the oil coolers can extend the engine's life because if the engine’s heat cannot be released, it can build up and raise the temperature. Therefore, the oil cooler provides the extra surface to dissipate the heat.

What is a thermostatic sandwich plate?

It is a switch for the oil cooler and comes with a built-in thermostat capable of preventing the flow of cold oil towards the cooler. Instead, it lets the warm oil towards the cooler when the engine oil reaches a maximum operating temperature.

The thermostatic oil cooler allows you to warm up the engine quickly in cold climates. Typically a high-flow sandwich plate has a 185-degree Fahrenheit thermostat that you can easily swap out for 160 or 200 units.

Is it necessary to have an oil cooler and thermostatic sandwich plate?

If you have to tow a large load or plan on racing the vehicle, then an oil cooler and a thermostatic sandwich plate wouldn’t hurt. The advantage of the oil cooler is that it removes more heat from the engine when it works hard, whereas the sandwich plate helps keep the oil cooler from engine warm-up increase.

However, if you have to tow or race occasionally, then using the oil cooler combo and the thermostatic sandwich plate is never the wrong choice. You will find their sleek designs to look good to show off what is under them, which can be great for horsepower.

Bottom Line

There are times when it becomes hard to install the engine oil cooler, especially if there is little room in your vehicle. It has to be installed so that airflow to the radiator doesn’t get blocked. When a thermostatic switch plate is used with it, it keeps the oil cool, and therefore, the thermostatic oil cooler is a lot of benefit for you.