Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Cooling Fan Relay

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Most modern vehicles use electric cooling fans to help pull air through the radiator so that it can keep the engine cool. Most cooling fans use electric motors that have a moderate to high current draw, and as a result are commonly controlled using relays. The cooling fan relay is the relay that controls the engine’s cooling fans. When the correct parameters are met, a temperature switch or the computer will activate the relay, which will allow power to the fans. The relay will usually be activated once it is detected that the vehicle’s temperature approaches excessively high temperatures. Usually a faulty cooling fan relay will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver that service may be required.

1. Engine running hot

One of the first symptoms commonly associated with a bad or failing cooling fan relay is an engine that runs hot or overheats. If you notice that your engine is running at higher temperatures than normal, that may be a sign that the relay is not functioning properly. If the relay shorts or fails, it will not be able to supply the power for the fans to operate and keep the engine running at normal temperatures. Abnormally high temperatures can also be caused by a variety of other problems so it is recommended to have the vehicle properly diagnosed to be sure of the problem.

2. Cooling fans do not function

Non-functional cooling fans are another common symptom of a potential problem with the cooling fan relay. If the relay fails, it will be unable to supply power to the fans, and as a result they will not operate. This can lead to overheating, especially when the vehicle is at a stop, where there is no forward motion by the vehicle to pass air over the radiator.

2. Cooling fans stay on at all times

If the cooling fans are staying on at all times, this is another (less common) symptom of a possible problem with the cooling fan relay. If the relay shorts internally, it may cause power to be permanently switched on, which will cause the fans to run at all times. Depending on the wiring setup of the vehicle, this may cause them to stay on even when the vehicle is off, which will drain the battery.

The cooling fan relay essentially functions as the switch for the engine’s cooling fans, and is therefore an important electrical component of the vehicle’s cooling system. For this reason, if you suspect that your cooling fan, or relay, may possibly be having issues, have the vehicle diagnosed by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic. They will be able to look over your vehicle and replace your cooling fan relay if necessary.


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Recent Cooling Fan Relay Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic Cooling Fan Relay Replacement Service

Average Rating

4.6/5

Number of Reviews

29

Rating Summary
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Peter

41 years of experience
1231 reviews
Peter
41 years of experience
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - Cooling Fan Relay - Phoenix, Arizona
Was very professional, punctual and is very knowledgeable. He did a great job working on my truck.
Jeep Grand Cherokee - Cooling Fan Relay - Surprise, Arizona
was pleased with my first experience with your company.

Jonathan

20 years of experience
304 reviews
Jonathan
20 years of experience
Jeep Grand Cherokee - Cooling Fan Relay - Denver, Colorado
A fantastic mechanic. He's knowledgeable and competent at his job. I highly recommend him.

Torrieanto

10 years of experience
473 reviews
Torrieanto
10 years of experience
Hyundai Santa Fe - Cooling Fan Relay Replacement - Saint Petersburg, Florida
Excellent service very professional!

Robert

29 years of experience
567 reviews
Robert
29 years of experience
Ford Focus - Cooling Fan Relay - Los Gatos, California
Very happy with the service. My car needed a couple of small additional pieces of work and once I paid for the parts, Robert installed them for me quickly at no additional charge. Refreshing to work with a mechanic not trying to pile on a bunch of additional work.

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