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What do cooling fans do on a car?

Engines work most efficiently within a specific temperature range. Cooling fans ensure that the engine neither gets too hot nor too cold. Cooling fans can dissipate heat generated during the combustion process and other mechanical operations within the engine. 

As the engine runs, it generates a substantial amount of heat. This heat must be removed to prevent overheating, which can lead to engine damage. Cooling fans draw in ambient air and force it through the radiator or other heat exchangers, such as those for the transmission or air conditioning. This air absorbs the engine's excess heat and carries it away.

Cooling fan not working

A non-working cooling fan can have various implications depending on driving conditions, and it's essential to pay attention to warning signs. If the cooling fan in your car is not working, it’s important for you to take these steps:

  • Stop the Vehicle: If the engine is overheating, pull over and turn off the engine immediately.
  • Do Not Drive: Avoid driving the vehicle if the cooling fan isn't working to prevent engine damage.
  • Check Fuses/Relays: Inspect the fuse box for blown fuses and replace them with the same rating. Check and replace the cooling fan relay if needed.
  • Inspect Wiring: Examine wiring and connections for damage or corrosion. Repair or replace damaged components.
  • Test the Fan Motor: Disconnect the fan motor's electrical connector and test it by applying direct power. Replace the fan motor if it doesn't work.
  • Check Temperature Sensors: Ensure temperature sensors are working correctly and replace them if necessary.
  • Consult a Mechanic: If you can't resolve the issue or need to replace the fan motor, seek professional help from a mechanic.

Difference between a radiator fan and a car A/C fan

  • Purpose:

Radiator Fan: Cools the engine to prevent overheating.

Car AC Fan: Cools the air conditioning system to provide interior cabin cooling.

  • Location

Radiator Fan: Mounted on the radiator to cool the engine.

Car AC Fan: Positioned in front of the air conditioning condenser to cool the AC system.

  • Control

Radiator Fan: Controlled by temperature sensors or the vehicle's ECU based on engine temperature.

Car AC Fan: Controlled by the AC system and linked to the AC compressor's operation.

  • Operation

Radiator Fan: Active to prevent engine overheating, especially in slow traffic or hot conditions.

Car AC Fan: Operates when the AC system is in use, ensuring efficient cooling of the AC refrigerant for cabin cooling.

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