5 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Ford 6.0 EGR Cooler

Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is a system that minimizes the emission of nitrogen oxide (NOx) in a car’s engine. However, not all cars have an EGR system, those that do rely heavily on it to maximize performance. 

Most of an EGR system’s components have a relatively long lifespan. This is especially true for Ford 6.0 EGR cooler components, as they typically last for over ten years. However, that also means it’s much harder to determine whether you need to shell out for an entirely new cooler or if it only needs a bit of maintenance. With that said, here are five signs it’s time to replace your EGR cooler.  

  1. The Check Engine icon is lit up 

The interface of most cars has the Check Engine icon or text. It only lights up when your vehicle’s sensors detect an issue that’s affecting or might affect the engines. These may include issues affecting the transmission, exhaust system, modules, and, most importantly, emission. (1)  

Since the EGR cooler is part of the emission system, the Check Engine icon being lit up raises the possibility that the cooler is in trouble. This is arguably the most obvious sign that it’s time to replace your EGR cooler, though it only works if your vehicle’s computer system has this feature. However, there’s still a chance that the issue triggering the warning lies somewhere else. 

  1. The car has traveled over 80,000 miles with the current cooler  

While the specs of an EGR cooler vary by brand, the average cooler should last up to 80,000 miles before needing a replacement. In short, if your car has traveled that much distance with your current EGR cooler, it might be time to buy a replacement. (2)  

Keep in mind that this number may be lower if the cooler sustains any damage throughout its lifespan. Regardless, it’d be best to monitor how many miles your car has traveled with the EGR cooler, as it can give you a rough idea of how much time it has left. If you wish to learn more about EGR cooler, here’s a link to its promotional video for more information.


  1. You smell a strong, harsh odor in the car  

When your engine produces an excessive amount of nitrogen oxide, the gas is bound to leak into the car’s interior. At that point, you’re likely to smell the gas, which is characterized by its strong, harsh odor.  

If you’re starting to notice the smell, it’s a sign that your emission system is facing some issues and possibly has something to do with the EGR cooler. Again, there’s no guarantee that your Ford 6.0 EGR cooler is the issue, though it’s highly likely since this kind of odor can only come from nitrogen oxide. In this case, you must fix the issue immediately, since prolonged exposure to the gas can lead to serious respiratory issues.  

  1. Your car is belching out white smoke 

It’s pretty normal for smoke to come out of your car in small amounts. However, you should see a mechanic ASAP if you see white or bluish-white smoke because it means your car is burning through coolant, which is most likely leaking out of a damaged EGR cooler valve. If you see this symptom, it’s usually because the EGR cooler is already failing, and you’re better off replacing the system rather than trying to get it fixed.  

  1. Your engine is overheating  

As the name suggests, the primary purpose of an EGR cooler is to cool the exhaust gas before they enter your engine. By reducing the temperature of the gases, it minimizes the likelihood of overheating. Hence, if your engine is overheating, it might be a sign that your EGR cooler is failing to do its part and now needs a replacement.  

IMPORTANT – Since overheating can also be caused by other factors, you have to make sure that the following issues are ruled out to avoid spending on unnecessary replacement:  

  • Water pump failure  
  • Low oil  
  • Dysfunctional thermostat  
  • Faulty hoses or belts  
  • Issues with the radiator (3)  


Wrapping up  

Every now and then, you’ll notice a drastic change in your vehicle’s performance. Perhaps it’s not accelerating as well as it usually does. Maybe it’s consuming more fuel than usual. Either way, these issues can lead you to believe that there’s a problem with your engine and may even prompt you to replace some parts.  

However, certain parts, like the Ford 6.0 EGR cooler, cost a ton of money. Naturally, you wouldn’t want to spend needlessly on buying a replacement when maintenance is enough to solve the issue, but you should be able to avoid that with this guide. 


  1. “What Does Your Check Engine Light Mean?”, Source: https://www.edmunds.com/car-maintenance/what-your-check-engine-light-is-telling-you.html 
  1. “How Long Does an EGR Cooler Last?”, Source: https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/how-long-does-an-egr-cooler-last 
  1. “Why Is My Car Overheating?”, Source: https://www.tiresplus.com/blog/maintenance/why-is-my-car-overheating/ 

Author: June McGown