Posted on: 3 May 2017
The radiator of your car depends on constant airflow to disperse coolant. Without an adequate amount of airflow, stagnant air around the radiator becomes overheated, which prevents it from cooling the engine. Fan clutches are a component of the cooling system that control the operation of an engine cooling fan by transferring energy from the engine belt to the fan, allowing it to turn at a certain speed, ultimately cooling the engine. Since the fan clutch is a component of the cooling system, it is important to understand the symptoms of a bad or failing fan clutch in order to prevent the risk of potential damages to the engine.
Engine is Overheating
One of the first signs that the fan clutch is bad or failing is the engine overheating. Most drivers recognize when the engine of their vehicle is overheating, but most won't immediately think the fan clutch is the cause. For this reason, many people will attempt to correct the overheating by adding water or coolant to the radiator. Bad fan clutches will cause the fan to not operate as it should, so the engine will continue to overheat, which may lead to potential engine damage.
Loose and Wobbling Fan
A fan clutch that is failing may cause the engine fan to become loose and wobbly. Sometimes the wobbling of the fan can be heard while you are driving, especially when driving at fast speeds, such as on the freeway. To check if the fan is loose, turn the engine on while the car is in park, open the hood and check to see if the fan is wobbling while it spins. Another sign the engine fan is loose is oil coming out from the clutch hub.
Loud Cooling Fan
One of the most common signs that the fan clutch is going bad is an excessively loud noise coming from the cooling fan. It is fairly common for a bad fan clutch to get stuck in the operating position, which causes the engine fan to become fully engaged, even if there isn't a need for it to be on. When the engine fan is blowing at full speed, it will cause a loud sound to come from the engine. The noise can usually be heard at all times, whether the engine is hot or cold.
Decrease in Performance
When the fan clutch is faulty, causing the fan to be permanently engaged, not only does it cause a loud noise in the engine, but it can also cause a decrease in performance, including the power and fuel efficiency of the vehicle. If the fan clutch is stuck it can cause an excessive and unnecessary drag of the engine, which ultimately causes a drop in power and fuel efficiency.
A fan clutch is one of the primary components of the cooling system, so it is extremely important for the proper operation of your car's engine. If it fails, the engine can be at risk of serious and expensive damages due to overheating. If your vehicle shows any signs of a failing clutch, it is essential that you have the car inspected by a professional mechanic to determine if you need a replacement.
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