The radiator fan is placed between the radiator and the engine, and although its function may seem unimportant, in reality, it’s an essential part of the car. The radiator fan has the important task of keeping the coolant cool when it gets hot.
The coolant circulates between the radiator and the engine coolant chamber, so it heats up naturally as it absorbs the engine heat. The radiator fan does not allow the coolant to heat up, as this can cause a number of problems.
Signs of a Bad Radiator Fan
The cooling fan may wear out due to excessive use or simply due to age. It cannot last forever, and it cannot continue to operate efficiently without your care. When it begins to fail, you will experience some symptoms that may indicate that it needs to be repaired or replaced.
1. No Whirring Noise from the Engine Bay
The radiator fan makes a noticeable noise during operation. This noise is produced by the motor of the cooling fan, which activates the fan for fast movement. Its whirring noise can even be heard inside the car before you start the engine. If you cannot hear the audible noise, the radiator fan may have failed and may cause further problems to your vehicle’s performance. It is, therefore, best to have it checked by your mechanic.
2. Rising Temperature Gauge
If the radiator fan is no longer working, the coolant does not cool down. The hot coolant continues to circulate between the engine and the radiator, and over time the engine starts to heat up. The thermostat catches the rising engine temperature and triggers the rise of the temperature gauge on your car’s dashboard. Rising temperatures can cause engine seizure, which means a lot of money. To protect yourself from possible high expenditure, you should spend a small amount of money to re-ignite the radiator fan.
3. Coolant Evaporates
The coolant can boil and evaporate if its temperature is not maintained. The radiator is responsible for maintaining the temperature of the coolant. However, if malfunctioning occurs, your coolant may dissolve into thin air like magic. If this is the case, your car could be facing a number of problems, and a failed radiator fan could be one of them. A radiator fan must, therefore, be kept in tiptop condition to ensure that the coolant volume is maintained at all times.
Testing and Repairing the Radiator Fan
The radiator fan has three important electrical components that give it its performance: the fan motor, the relay, and the resistor. A problem with any of these three components can cause a problem with the fan, so it is best to test their integrity before making any repairs or replacements.
The Radiator Fan Relay
The fan is powered by electricity supplied by the car battery. However, the relay is the part that ensures that the fan receives the correct voltage and amps to operate efficiently. Relays can fail due to age or power surges, so it’s best to have them checked before you waste money on the cooling fan itself. If the relay is defective, you can replace it with a small amount of money.
The Radiator Fan Motor
The relay transmits the electricity coming from the battery to the motor of the radiator fan. This engine works continuously while the car is running. Therefore, it can wear out easily. Without its proper function, the fan either does not work at all or works so slowly that the coolant cannot cool down properly. In either case, the engine will face the music and head towards a breakdown or a seizure. The fan motor is expensive, so you must first have it checked by a certified mechanic who can give you the right advice on your next step. If the motor needs repair, the mechanic will charge you a healthy amount for his time.
The Radiator Fan Resistor
The resistor allows the fan to operate with more than one speed setting. Different speed settings can help the motor to efficiently handle heat problems. However, if the resistor fails, various problems with motor performance may occur.
Inspecting all three components can solve half of your problems. Apart from that, if a repair is absolutely necessary, you have no choice but to spend money.
Radiator Fan Replacement Cost
Fan repairs are not very expensive, as they only involve the repair of an electrical circuit. However, if the fan blades are damaged and the resistor is burnt out together with the motor, you should expect to pay a lot for a replacement. Furthermore, any replacement of the cooling fan means the replacement of the other associated parts. If you are talking about a resistor, it will cost $50 to $80, depending on the quality.
The motor of the cooling fan is the largest of the three main components of the cooling fan and therefore it is only natural that the motor costs the most money. Keep in mind that the cost of an engine ranges from $300 to $700 depending on the vehicle, model year, and availability. The biggest problem when it comes to replacing old parts with new ones is the availability of the new part. If your car is old and rare, the parts are probably more expensive. If your car is also in the luxury car segment, you will also pay a higher price. To top it off, you have to pay the mechanic for his time. This can cost you an additional $100, give or take.
A relay costs $80 – $100 and can be easily replaced, so you don’t need the help of a mechanic. However, when it comes to the radiator fan blade, you may have to worry about spending a little more money. The blades of the cooling fan are made of metal or plastic. It is up to you to decide which material you want to use. Usually, you choose the more rigid metal material so that it is not as easily damaged.
Share this Post
Founder, owner & main author of Mechanic Base. I have been repairing cars for more than 10 years, specialized in advanced diagnostics & troubleshooting. I have also been a drifting driver and mechanic for over 7 years.