The advantages of an oil cooler for a Ford or any other internal combustion engine include keeping the oil from overheating, separating and thinning. This keeps the engine properly lubricated and prevents wear. The oil cooler also provides cooling of the engine to prevent overheating in high-performance applications.
The ideal operating temperature for motor oil in an engine is between 180 and 210 degrees Fahrenheit. When oil overheats, it begins to break down and lose its ability to lubricate the moving parts. Thinning of the oil reduces the oil pressure in the engine, increasing the damage from a lack of lubrication.
The oil cooler looks and functions like the radiator on a car. The liquid moves through tubes in the unit and air passes through cooling fins to remove heat and cool the oil. However, if the oil below the ideal operating temperature, the engine does not receive adequate lubrication either. Many oil coolers remedy this problem by including a thermostat, which is a valve that prevents oil from flowing through the cooler until it reaches the proper temperature range. On vehicles equipped with an oil cooler that does not have a thermostat, operators must provide a few extra minutes of warm-up time so that the oil is at the correct temperature before driving.