Reader Question: My son’s 1996 Pontiac Firebird needs a rebuilt transmission, which is covered under our after-market warranty. However, the shop is recommending that we pay out of pocket for a new transmission cooler and a cooling system flush, which are not covered. Are these necessary?
Adding a transmission cooler is a good idea…IF you do not already have one.
Your vehicle probably uses the radiator as its transmission cooler, which is fine. I would suspect they are blaming the transmission failure on overheating. I suggest an external transmission cooler to help reduce the likely hood of overheating the rebuilt transmission.
In my opinion, if this was the original 11-year-old transmission it was probably due for an overhaul and overheating was probably not the main cause for failure, normal wear and tear or probably young male driving was more to blame than the need for a transmission cooler.
So, I would probably pass on the cooler. On the coolant flush, look inside the radiator (when the engine is cold). Does it look bright green or clean or brown/black or muddy? If dirty looking, a flush is probably a great idea and is just part of good routine maintenance.