Because a car’s engine is a mobile combustion chamber, several systems are in place to keep it cool. The radiator cooling fan is one of those integral parts, and failure can be disastrous.
The average cost of replacing the radiator cooling fan is $300 and $850.
What does a radiator fan do?
The radiator fan or fans are designed to function just like any fan. The radiator fan is specifically located between the engine and the radiator. The fan’s spinning essentially forces cool air into the radiator. The radiator fan works as long as the car’s engine is running, regardless of whether the vehicle is sitting still or moving.
By forcing cool air into the radiator, the cooling fan helps the radiator lower the coolant’s temperature that has just exited the engine block. The cooled coolant can then make its way back to the water pump and eventually to the engine.
How much does a radiator fan replacement cost?
Replacing a radiator fan is one of the more expensive repairs on a car, and most of the cost is wrapped up in the replacement parts.
Average radiator fan price
The average price will differ for parts due to the car’s make and model, but you should expect a replacement fan to range between $80 and $150.
Radiator fan motor replacement cost
A replacement electric cooling fan motor is the most expensive aspect of this repair. You can expect a replacement motor to average $470. However, this can increase if you need a hydraulic-driven cooling fan motor or a variable-speed cooling fan system.
However, it is possible to simply buy a radiator fan assembly, including the cooling fan, the electric motor, and the cooling fan shroud. The assembly will average $650.
Average radiator fan replacement labor cost
Replacing the fan is a very straightforward operation and doesn’t require much time or labor. Labor costs typically average around $150 to $200.
Symptoms of a bad radiator fan
You would want to catch any potential problem before it becomes worse, and instead of simply replacing the fan, you need to replace the fan motor.
The engine is overheating
One of the first symptoms can be seen in the car’s temperature gauge. The radiator fan is a cooling fan, so if it isn’t working correctly, things will heat up fast.
A blown fuse
It is prevalent for a lousy radiator fan to cause the radiator fan fuse to blow out. This is a cyclical issue, as a bad radiator fan will blow a fuse, but a blown a fuse will stop the fan from working. So, having to change the fuse more than once is a symptom to watch for.
A noisy fan
Typically, before a radiator fan fails, it makes a lot of noise. While any new or unfamiliar noises coming from the engine bay is a cause for inspection, in this case, you want to pay attention to a loud whirring or clicking type noises. A damaged fan blade can also cause these sounds.
A/C is not working well
The amount of heat generated by the engine is truly extraordinary, so the cooling fan is so important. However, a bad radiator fan can often be mistaken as a problem with the air conditioning system and the condenser fan motor.
If the cooling fan assembly fails, the heat from the engine bay will migrate into the car’s cabin. This excess heat will make it seem like the air conditioning unit is dying, but in reality, you are dealing with engine heat, not ambient heat, which the air conditioner is not designed to remedy.
What happens if your radiator fan stops working?
First and foremost, the car’s engine will begin to overheat, and it will happen fast. Don’t forget just how much heat your engine creates. After all, it is a combustion chamber. The cooling fan keeps the temperature regulated so that engine can stay cool.
An overheated engine will damage all the parts inside the engine block and eventually cause the engine to lock up. It cannot be stressed enough that this would not necessarily take a long time to do. It could occur relatively quickly.
Can you drive with a broken radiator fan?
As we always mention, it is essential to understand that simply if a car will run doesn’t mean that it can be driven. The radiator fan has a vital job inside the engine bay, and that is to help keep the engine cool. The damage caused by a bad radiator fan can result in a price tag more significant than simply replacing the motor.
In this case, if you could drive the car with a broken fan, you would not get very far. At the most, if you are lucky, you may be able to go about a mile. But, in most cases, you probably wouldn’t make it more than a quarter of that.
Is it hard to replace the radiator fan yourself?
This depends upon how much experience and know-how you have with cars and repairing them. This is a viable Do It Yourself job for someone who enjoys working on cars and has the tools, the space to do it, and the know-how to get through it. If not, it is best to take it to a garage and let them handle it.
Where to get radiator cooling fan replacement services
Radiator cooling fan replacement is a service that virtually any garage provides. However, if you have some mechanical prowess, you could consider this a Do It Yourself type repair. You can simply buy the replacement part from any auto parts store, and it should only take an afternoon to complete.