Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Cooling/Radiator Fan Motor

Virtually all late model vehicles and the vast majority of road going vehicles use radiator cooling fans with electric motors to keep the engine cool. The cooling fans are mounted on the radiator and work to pull air through the radiator fans to keep the engine cool, especially during idle and low speeds, where air flow through the radiator is significantly less than at road speeds. As the engine operates the coolant temperature will continue to rise, and if there is no air moving through the radiator to cool it, it will begin to overheat. It is the job of the cooling fans to provide that air flow, and they do so using electric motors.

The electric motors found on many cooling fans are not much different than regular industrial use electric motors, and are often a serviceable or replaceable component of the cooling fan assembly. As they are the component that rotates the fan blades and creates the air flow, any issues that eventually arise with the fan motors can quickly develop into other problems. Usually a bad or failing cooling fan motor will display a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential problem that should be serviced.

1. Cooling fans do not come on

The most common symptom of a faulty cooling fan motor are cooling fans that do not come on. If the cooling fan motors burn out or fail, the cooling fans will be disabled. The cooling fan motors work together with the cooling fan blades to pull air through the radiator. If the motor fails the blades will not be able to spin or generate air flow.

2. Vehicle overheating

Another symptom of a possible problem with the cooling or radiator fan motors is the vehicle overheating. The cooling fans are thermostatic and are designed to come on once a certain temperature is reached, or certain conditions are met. If the cooling fan motors fail, and disable the fans, the engine temperature will continue to climb until the engine overheats. Engine overheating, however, can also be caused by a wide variety of other problems, so having the vehicle properly diagnosed is highly recommended.

3. Blown fuse

A blown cooling fan circuit fuse is another symptom of a potential problem with the cooling fan motors. If the motors fail or surge, they may cause the fuse to blow in order to protect the rest of the system from any sort of damage due to electrical surges. The fuse will have to be replaced to restore possible functionality to the fans.

The cooling fan motors are an important component to any cooling fan assembly, and play a key role in keeping the car at safe temperatures during idle and low speeds. For this reason, if you suspect that your cooling fan motors may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic. They will be able to look over your vehicle and replace your cooling fan motor.


Next Step

Schedule Vehicle Engine Cooling Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Vehicle Engine Cooling Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Vehicle Engine Cooling Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(171,627)

Rating Summary
161,099
5,644
1,174
834
2,876
161,099
5,644
1,174
834
2,876

Chuck

10 years of experience
347 reviews
Chuck
10 years of experience
Ford Escape L4-2.5L - Battery - Dallas, Texas
Chuck is wonderful! He was on time and knew exactly what needed to be done. Fast, easy, and great service. Highly recommend!
Toyota Corolla - Alternator - The Colony, Texas
Quick service, professional, would highly recommend

Glenn

21 years of experience
38 reviews
Glenn
21 years of experience
Pontiac Grand Prix V6-3.8L Turbo - Vehicle Engine Cooling Inspection - Indianapolis, Indiana
Ok

William

34 years of experience
517 reviews
William
34 years of experience
Mazda 3 L4-2.0L - Vehicle Engine Cooling Inspection - Phoenix, Arizona
Earlier than expected! Diagnosed car within an hour and had an estimate for repairs quick

Angelo

32 years of experience
76 reviews
Angelo
32 years of experience
Ford Explorer V6-4.0L - Spark Plugs - Carrollton, Texas
GREAT!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How Long Does a Coolant Reservoir Last?
The coolant reservoir is a tank located in your vehicle that holds the overflowing coolant that comes from your cooling system. The reservoir...
How Long Does a Cooling Fan Relay Last?
The The purpose of the cooling fan relay is to pull air through the A/C condenser and the radiator. Most vehicles have two fans, one for the radiator and one for the condenser. Once you turn on the air conditioning,...
How to Replace a Cooling Fan Relay on Most Vehicles
Cooling fan relays fail when the radiator cooling fan no longer receives an electrical signal. A broken fan relay means the radiator cannot cool down.

Related questions

Coolant doesn't circulate and is leaking into coolant tank
Hello. If the coolant only leaks when the engine is running, then it is typically a failing water pump (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/symptoms-of-a-bad-or-failing-water-pump). This is the most common thing to leak under these conditions. The water pump should be checked for signs of...
Power steering leak on a '95 Dodge Ram 2500
You've got to find where the leak is (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/how-to-diagnose-a-fluid-leak-by-mark-vallet) coming from. Power steering pumps (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/symptoms-of-a-bad-or-failing-power-steering-hose) put out 1500 PSI or more at times. So, wherever the leak is, you are going to see it squirting out. From there you can...
Electric cooling fan problem after repairing my water pump and thermostat
The water pump and thermostat was replaced for what I can only assume was a leaking water pump. Once this work was done then the mechanic should have run the vehicle until the thermostat opens to completely fill the cooling...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com