Are electric radiator cooling fans repairable?

Electric radiator fans have different parts some of which are prone to failure. Some of the failed parts can be fixed while some parts should not be repaired.
Last modified
11 Feb, 2024

Electric radiator fans are cooling fans that help to remove heat away from the coolant that passes through the radiator. The fan pushes or pulls air through the radiator fins to accomplish this.

Electric radiator fans are not directly driven by the engine but are powered by electricity. The sources of power are the alternator and battery.

Electric radiator fan

The electric radiator fan of a vehicle can develop fault as a result, either not work optimally or stop to work at all. The fault can happen to any part of the radiator fan.

Before we proceed to look at each fault, let's take a look at the various parts of an electric radiator fan.

Parts of an electric radiator fan

1. Fan blade

The fan blade is responsible for pushing or pulling air through the radiator fins as it rotates due to the orientation of the blades, causing air current.

2. Electric motor

This converts electrical energy from the alternator and battery to mechanical energy that is used to turn the fan blade.

In the electric motor, there are other components like the stator, rotor, rings, brushes and so on...

3. Electric wire

This is what takes current from the source to the electric motor. 

4. Fan control module

This module controls the operation of the fan. It controls it's ON and OFF states and the speed by taking control signals from the ECU (Electronic contol unit). The type fund in new model cars use solid state electronics while the old type used relays. It is this that some people bypass in order to straightwire the fan directly to power source.

5. Electrical connectors

The connector allows the fan to be easily detachable or connected without cutting wires. There are electrical contacts in the connector of the fan that will mate with the electrical contacts in the connector of the wire from the power source.

Is electric radiator fan fixable when it is faulty?

The correct answer is it depends. It depends on the part that goes faulty but almost every part of a radiator fan is repairable unless the repair is not cost effective or the build of the fan doesn't make fixing it easy.

What can be fixed in electric radiator cooling fan?

1. Bad wires can be replaced or fixed.

2. Bad connectors can be replaced or fixed.

3. Worn brushes can be replaced.

4. Bad control module can be replaced.

5. Relays can be replaced. For the types that use relay for switching, they do have resustors that can be replaced when they go bad. It is these resistors that limit current flow thereby reducing fan speed.

Thing that you should not bother to fix in an electric radiator cooling fan.

You should not try to fix a broken fan blade or a structurally damaged permanent magnet of the electric motor in order not to have a fan without good structural integrity.

In conclusion, radiator fans can be fixed when they have minor issues but you should replace them when repairs will not restore reliability or good working state.