Updated: Feb 2
✔ This article has been fact checked.
The car radiator fan plays a crucial role in the cooling system of your vehicle. It helps to dissipate the heat generated by the engine and prevents it from overheating.
The most common cause of a car radiator fan not working is due to a blown fuse or low coolant levels. However, there are various other causes that should be investigated. If a car radiator fan isn't working it could cause the engine to overheat.
In this article, we will discuss the various causes of a car radiator fan not working, how to check if it is working, and the cost and time involved in fixing the issue.
Table of Contents:
What Does the Car Radiator Fan Do?
The radiator fan is a mechanical or electric fan that helps to cool the radiator, which in turn cools the engine.
The fan is located in front of the radiator and is sometimes driven by a belt connected to the engine, in most cases it is controlled electronically.
When the engine is running, the fan helps to circulate air through the radiator, which helps to dissipate the heat generated by the engine.
The coolant, which is a mixture of water and antifreeze, flows through the engine and absorbs the heat. It is then circulated through the radiator, where it is cooled by the fan and the ambient air.
Causes of the Car Radiator Fan Not Working
There are several reasons why your car radiator fan may not be working. Some of the most common causes of a car radiator fan to not spin include the following.
1. Blown Fuse
A blown fuse can cause the radiator fan to stop working. To check if the fuse for the radiator fan is blown, you need to locate the fuse for the cooling fan.
The fuse box is typically located in the engine bay or in the dashboard.
If the fuse is blown, it will need to be replaced. You should use a fuse with the same amperage rating as the original to prevent further damage.
2. Faulty Radiator Fan Wiring
The wiring that connects the radiator fan to the power source can become damaged over time, causing the fan to stop working. The most common causes of damaged wiring are age, wear and tear, and exposure to the elements.
To diagnose this issue, you will need to inspect the wiring carefully for any signs of corrosion, fraying, or damage. If the wiring is damaged, it will need to be repaired or replaced.
3. Malfunctioning Radiator Fan Clutch
The radiator fan clutch is a device that connects the fan to the engine, allowing it to turn on and off as needed. If the fan clutch is not working properly, the fan will not be able to turn on, even if the power source and wiring are functioning normally.
To diagnose this issue, you will need to inspect the fan clutch for signs of damage, wear, or other issues. If the fan clutch is found to be faulty, it will need to be replaced.
Note that not all vehicles have a radiator fan clutch.
4. Low Coolant Levels
If the engine's coolant levels are low, it may not be cooled properly, which can cause the fan to stop working or not work as effectively.
To diagnose this issue, you will need to check the engine's coolant levels and add more coolant if necessary.
5. Faulty Coolant Temperature Sensor
The coolant temperature sensor helps to regulate the temperature of the engine. If the sensor is not working properly, it may not trigger the radiator fan to turn on when it is needed, potentially causing the engine to overheat.
To diagnose this issue, you will need to test the coolant temperature sensor using a multimeter or a diagnostic tool. If the sensor is found to be faulty, it will need to be replaced.
6. Faulty Radiator Fan Motor
The radiator fan motor powers the fan and is responsible for turning it on and off as needed. If the fan motor is not working, the fan will not be able to turn on.
To diagnose this issue, you will need to test the fan motor using a multimeter or a diagnostic tool. If the fan motor is found to be faulty, it will need to be replaced.
How Do I Check if My Radiator Fan Is Working?
There are a couple of ways to check if your radiator fan is working.
Check by hearing for the fan to turn on: If the engine coolant is hot and up to temperature, the fan should turn on. You can listen for the fan to start running when the engine is hot. The fan will only turn on if the coolant is above its target temperature (such as on a hot day, stuck in traffic, or after hard driving).
Turn on the AC: In some vehicles, the radiator fan turns on by default when the AC is switched on. If the fan does not turn on when you turn on the AC, it may be malfunctioning.
How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Radiator Fan?
The cost of fixing a radiator fan depends on the cause of the problem and the parts that need to be replaced. Below are some estimates of the cost of common repairs.
$80-$250 (£58-£178) for a new radiator fan
$80-$150 (£58-£107) for a new radiator fan motor
$80-$120 in US and £25-£60 in UK for labour costs per hour
Keep in mind that these are just estimates, and the actual cost may vary depending on your location, the make and model of your vehicle, and the severity of the problem.
How Long Does It Take To Fix a Radiator Fan?
The time it takes to fix a radiator fan depends on the cause of the problem and the complexity of the repair.
In most cases, it should take about 1-2 hours to replace a faulty radiator fan or radiator fan motor. However, if the problem is more complex, it may take longer to diagnose and fix.
If your car radiator fan is not working, it is important to address the problem as soon as possible. A faulty radiator fan can cause the engine to overheat, which can lead to serious damage.
There are several possible causes of a radiator fan not working, including a blown fuse, faulty wiring, a malfunctioning radiator fan clutch, low coolant levels, a faulty coolant temperature sensor, and a faulty radiator fan motor.
To fix the problem, you may need to replace the radiator fan, radiator fan motor, or other components. The cost and time involved in fixing a radiator fan depend on the cause of the problem and the complexity of the repair.
Tsukasa Azuma. (Dec 28, 2020) https://carfromjapan.com/article/car-maintenance/car-radiator-fan-not-working/
Dustin Hawley. (Dec 13, 2022) https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/why-isnt-my-radiator-fan-working?make=&model=