Can an Aftermarket Oil Cooler Kit Extend the Life of a BMW M3 Engine on the Track?

Every BMW M3 owner will tell you that their car’s engine is the heart of their ride. They also know that it’s crucial to maintain the engine in its optimum condition to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. But when it comes to driving a BMW M3 on a track, you’ll need more than just regular maintenance to keep the engine cool and prevent overheating. That’s where an aftermarket oil cooler kit comes in. Before getting into it, it’s important to understand what an oil cooler does and how it can impact your car’s engine.

What is an Oil Cooler and Why Do You Need One?

An oil cooler is a component of your car’s engine designed to keep the engine oil cool. It’s essentially a small radiator that sits in front of your car’s main radiator. When the engine oil gets hot, it passes through the oil cooler where it’s cooled down before being recirculated back into the engine. This helps to maintain the oil at a consistent temperature, which is critical for the engine’s performance and longevity.

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If you’re a BMW M3 owner who enjoys pushing your car to its limits on the track, an oil cooler is especially important. Track driving pushes your car’s engine much harder than regular driving, resulting in higher engine temperatures. If the oil gets too hot, it can cause the engine to overheat, which can lead to serious damage.

The BMW M3 Series and Oil Cooler Issues

The BMW M3 is a high-performance car that’s made to be driven hard. But despite its race-derived engine and track-ready suspension, some M3 models have been known to suffer from inadequate oil cooling. This is particularly true for the earlier models in the series, which were originally equipped with a single oil cooler. In high-performance driving situations like track days, these cars can run hot, causing the oil temps to rise dangerously high.

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An oil cooler upgrade can solve this problem, but it’s important to choose the right kit. Not all aftermarket oil coolers are created equal, and the wrong one can cause more harm than good. For example, if the cooler is too large, it can overcool the oil, causing it to thicken and not lubricate the engine properly. On the other hand, a cooler that’s too small won’t be able to keep the oil temps in check, leading to overheating and potential engine damage.

Choosing an Aftermarket Oil Cooler Kit for Your BMW M3

There are many aftermarket oil cooler kits available, but not all of them are suitable for a BMW M3. When choosing a kit, it’s essential to consider several factors. The first is the size of the cooler. As mentioned earlier, it needs to be large enough to effectively cool the oil, but not so large that it overcools it.

Another factor to consider is the quality of the kit. A high-quality oil cooler will be made of durable materials that can withstand the high temperatures and pressures of track driving. Additionally, it should come with all the necessary fittings and hoses for a straightforward installation.

It’s also a good idea to read reviews and see what other BMW M3 owners have to say about the oil cooler kits they’ve used. Websites like iTrader can be a great resource for this, as they have a community of car enthusiasts who share their experiences with various aftermarket parts.

Installing an Aftermarket Oil Cooler Kit

After you’ve chosen the right oil cooler kit for your BMW M3, the next step is installation. While some car owners may feel comfortable doing this themselves, it’s generally recommended to have a professional handle it.

Installation involves disconnecting the stock oil cooler, mounting the new cooler, and connecting it to the engine with new hoses. Some kits may also require installing a new thermostat. Be aware that this process could also involve draining the oil and may require other modifications to your car, depending on the specific kit.

As with any modification, it’s important to monitor your car carefully after the installation. Keep an eye on your oil temperature and pressure, and listen for any unusual noises. If anything seems off, have your car checked by a professional as soon as possible.


In conclusion, an aftermarket oil cooler kit can be a valuable addition to your BMW M3 if you regularly drive it on the track. It can help keep your engine cool, extend its life, and enhance its performance. However, it’s important to choose the right kit and have it properly installed to ensure it works effectively and doesn’t cause any issues. With the right oil cooler, you can enjoy your track days with confidence, knowing your engine is protected.

The Role of the Turner BMW Heat Exchanger in Oil Cooling

When talking about aftermarket oil cooler kits for BMW M3, Turner BMW stands out as one of the preferred choices among car enthusiasts. Their heat exchanger kit, in particular, is hailed for its high performance and durability.

The Turner BMW heat exchanger works by directing oil flow through a series of stainless steel plates. These plates have a high surface area, which allows for efficient heat transfer from the hot oil to the cooler ambient air. This helps to keep the oil temperatures in check, even during intense track driving.

The heat exchanger also comes equipped with an oil thermostat. This device regulates the oil flow through the exchanger, ensuring that the oil doesn’t get too cold when the engine is just warming up. This is critical, as oil that’s too cold won’t be able to lubricate the engine properly.

In terms of construction, the Turner BMW heat exchanger is made of high-quality stainless steel. This material is known for its durability and resistance to corrosion, making it an excellent choice for an oil cooler.

However, one should bear in mind that while the Turner BMW heat exchanger is an impressive piece of kit, it should be part of a comprehensive approach to engine cooling. This includes regular oil changes, using high-quality oil, and proper engine maintenance.

How Other BMW M3 Owners Have Benefited from an Oil Cooler Kit

Browsing through posts drives and reacts on iTrader, it’s clear that many BMW M3 owners appreciate the quote originally posted by others who have successfully installed an oil cooler kit. The general rep and drives join the consensus that an aftermarket oil cooler kit is a worthwhile investment.

One lieutenant rep shared his experience, saying that after installing the cooler kit, he noticed a significant drop in his oil temps during track days. He further added that the kit was easy to install and came with clear instructions.

Another BMW Turner owner shared his story, stating that after he experienced engine overheating on the track one too many times, he decided to install an aftermarket oil cooler. He reported that since the installation, he hasn’t had any engine overheating issues, even during intensive track sessions.

These accounts are a testament to the effectiveness of aftermarket oil cooler kits. However, each car’s situation is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. That’s why it’s crucial to research and consult with professionals before making a decision.


Keeping your BMW M3’s engine cool during track drives is vital for its performance and longevity. An aftermarket oil cooler kit can serve as an additional line of defense against engine overheating. While there are numerous options available, the Turner BMW heat exchanger, with its stainless steel construction and built-in oil thermostat, is a crowd favorite. However, it’s prudent to consider your car’s specific needs and seek professional advice before purchasing and installing such a kit. By making an informed decision, you can enhance your track experience and prolong the life of your beloved ride.

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