Car Sounds Like A Fan When Accelerating? Here’s What You Need to Know

If your car sounds like a fan when accelerating, these might be the possible reasons-

  • Malfunction in Fan Clutch or Fluid Coupling
  • Worn Out Cooling Fan Bearing
  • Low Coolant Level
  • Dirty Cooling Fan Blades
  • Loose or Broken Radiator Fan Belt
  • Restricted Airflow Around the Radiator
  • Leak in the Exhaust System
  • Damaged Muffler
  • Worn Out Belt or Bearing on the Pulley
  • Suspension System Problems

To solve these problems, you need to replace or fix the parts as required. Let’s get started with this article for a detailed solution. 

Key Takeaways

  • Car sounds like a fan can be related to the cooling system, damaged belt or other components.
  • Strange car noises, especially while accelerating, should not be ignored. Get your vehicle checked by a mechanic to ensure safety on the road.
  • To make your car quieter, consider using sound-insulating materials and checking components like the exhaust and tires for noise issues.

Reasons and Fixes for Fan-Like Sound

Some problems with car making fan noises include issues in the cooling system, or damaged exhaust or faulty belt. 

Issues in the Cooling System:

The table below shows some common reasons and solutions for the unwanted noise due to cooling system issue: 

Malfunction in Fan Clutch or Fluid CouplingReplace the Fan Clutch or Fluid Coupling
Worn Out Cooling Fan BearingReplace the Cooling Fan Bearing
Low Coolant LevelEnsure Coolant Level
Dirty Cooling Fan BladesKeep the Cooling Fan Blade Clean
Loose or Broken Radiator Fan BeltReplace the Radiator Fan Belt
Faulty RadiatorReplace the Radiator
Restricted Airflow Around the RadiatorClean Up the Air Vent

Let’s go through these issues and the fixes- 

Malfunction in Fan Clutch or Fluid Coupling:

Most cars with an engine powered fan use a “Cooling Fan Clutch” that is filled with oil. It starts operating upon opening the internal valves. The oil then fills in the clutch creating friction which makes the fan spin. The fan stops with the valves closing and storing the oil back. This process depends on the engine rpm. 

When the car’s engine is turned off and cold, spin the cooling fan with your hand. It is usually hard to spin it with bare hands. If the fan spins too easily, like it’s loose, then the clutch is probably broken, and you need to fix it.

Cooling Fan Clutch
Source: freepik

Solution: Replace the Fan Clutch or Fluid Coupling

If there is a malfunction in your fan clutch or fluid coupling, you may need to replace it. This video can help you with the process Fan Clutch Replacement

If you’re not sure whether your it needs to be replaced, you can inspect the fan clutch for signs of fluid leaks

Worn Out Cooling Fan Bearing:

One reason your car might make noise is because the bearing in the cooling fan is worn out. When this happens, it can sound like something is hitting another part of your car.

Solution: Replace the Cooling Fan Bearing

To fix this issue, check your fan and pulleys for damage.  Follow this video to replace the cooling fan bearing.

Low Coolant Level:

Another reason for fan-like sound might be Low Coolant Level. This can happen if your car’s engine gets frequently hot and your fan needs extra work to cool it down. Sometimes, if things get worse, a warning light might come on in your car.

Solution: Ensure Coolant Level

To solve this problem, you can check the coolant level. Follow this video check it by your own- How to Check your Car’s Coolant Level. If it’s not enough, you should fill it up. 

It’s also good to do a “coolant flush” every two years or 30,000 miles. This will help your engine stay cool and the fan quieter.

Dirty Cooling Fan Blades:

If the blades of the cooling fan are dirty, the fan has to work hard to push the air out. This makes more noise than usual. If the blades are really dirty, air can’t flow well. This can also make the inside of your car get too hot.

Solution: Keep the Cooling Fan Blade Clean

To avoid this problem, you should clean the dirt off your car’s cooling fan. You can use stuff like compressed air duster, soap, and water. Clean frequency depends on how much you drive your car.

You can find the product at your nearest store or order them online.

Product Name Feature
Compressed Air DusterPortable and lightweight

Loose or Broken Radiator Fan Belt:

Your car’s fan belt can get loose or break causing the cooling fan to sound like a fan. It can make the car’s engine get too hot and the fan has to work extra hard to cool things down. 

Having a broken or loose fan belt in your car is risky. This could lead to car accidents if you don’t fix it.

Solution: Replace the Radiator Fan Belt

So, it’s a good idea to check the fan belt in your car every few months. Examine it thoroughly to see if it’s getting old or damaged. 

Follow this video How To Tell if You Need New Fan Belts to inspect it properly. If it is the reason, you should replace the belts.

Faulty Radiator:

If your car’s radiator has a problem, it can make loud noises when your car cools down. 

This noise happens because the air passing through the radiator makes a loud whistling sound. Another reason is there’s too much pressure inside the radiator.

Faulty Radiator
Source: drive smart warranty

Solution: Replace the Radiator

Usually, you can solve this problem by getting a new radiator cap. This guide How to replace your radiator cap safely can help you to place it. 

Also you can reduce the pressure by turning the radiator cap a little until you hear a hissing sound.  Just be careful not to release too much pressure at once to avoid damaging anything inside while driving. 

Restricted Airflow Around the Radiator:

Another reason a car’s radiator fan makes a lot of noise is because there isn’t enough air flowing around it. 

This can happen if stuff like leaves or junk gets stuck. This usually happens between the front grille and the car’s body, or if something blocks the air vents.

Solution: Clean Up the Air Vent

If this happens to your car, you can usually solve it by cleaning out all the junk. Make sure nothing is blocking the vents. Also, check if there’s dirt or stuff stuck in the fan blades making the noise.

You can find the product at your nearest store or order them online.

Product NameFeature
Mini Duster for Car Air VentMulti functioned, Suitable for all cars

Issues in Exhaust System:

You might have heard a loud noise coming from the car’s exhaust system. This system includes parts like the muffler, resonator, catalytic converter, and header/down pipe.

Leak in the Exhaust SystemFixing the Exhaust System Leak
Damaged MufflerReplace the Muffler

Some common exhaust issues causing noise includes:

Leak in the Exhaust System:

When there’s a leak or hole anywhere in this system, it causes a distinct rumbling noise. This noise becomes more noticeable when you accelerate because the engine has to work harder, making the noise even louder. 

So, if there’s a problem with the exhaust, the car won’t be as quiet as it should be.

Leak in the Exhaust System
Source: custom complete automotive

Solution: Fixing the Exhaust System Leak

In the exhaust system, there are places where pipes join together, and these have gaskets that can be swapped out. 

Car’s exhaust leaking can be fixed by changing a gasket. You can also follow this tutorial How To Cure Header Exhaust Leaks to inspect personally.

Be careful as the bolts holding these parts together can be tough to remove because they often get rusty. You might have to replace a whole section of the pipe or the entire part with the issue. 

In such cases, the best move is to take your vehicle to a muffler repair shop. They can weld in a new piece to ensure your exhaust system doesn’t have any leaks.

It’s important to know that exhaust leaks are not safe. Leaks from the exhaust make your car overheat, sometimes the heat can even come from the driver’s side floor. Breathing in these gases might make you feel unwell and can even lead to severe health problems. 

So, if you ever smell exhaust fumes in your car, get it checked out by a repair shop right away.

Damaged Muffler:

If your car’s engine or muffler is very noisy, your muffler might be broken. Check it and replace it if it’s damaged. 

Look for rust or holes in the muffler to check if it’s okay. Any noticeable damage can happen because of water or debris and mean your muffler needs replacing.

Solution: Replace the Muffler

To change a muffler, you’ll need to remove the old one and put in a new one. This often involves unbolting the old muffler and securing the new one. Mufflers can cost from $15 to $1,500, depending on the material and quality. 

If you want to replace the muffler yourself and have the tools, you just need to pay for the new muffler. These can range from $15 to a few hundred dollars, depending on the type you need. Check this video for assistance.

Damaged Engine Drive Belt:

Damaged engine belt or worn out engine bearing can also cause loud noises in your car. Here are the explained reasons:

Worn Out BeltReplace the Engine Drive Belt
Worn Out Bearing on the PulleyReplace the Drive Belt Pulley Bearing

Worn Out Belt: 

Belt noise often manifests as a squeaking or squealing noise. This noise most often happens when you accelerate, and sometimes when turning. Belt noise can be a signal of worn or loose belt. 

If the drive belt system isn’t working properly, it can create noise making the belt wear out soon. For instance, if oil, antifreeze, or power steering fluid leaks onto a belt, it can make the belt deteriorate quickly.

Worn Out Belt
Source: taxiwiz

Sometimes, the noise from the belt can happen because the belt or the fan belt has become dry. This dryness can be caused by the constant rubbing and the heat from the engine.

Solution: Replace the Engine Drive Belt

You need to repair the leak and make sure the pulleys are completely clean before you put a new belt. You should replace your old belt with a new one after you’ve driven around 75,000 miles. 

Follow this video for a better idea How to Replace a Serpentine Belt in Your Car (Fan Belt). If you don’t replace it on time, it might break at the most unexpected moments.

So, it’s a good idea to open your car’s hood and take a look at your old belt. If you see cracks in it, it’s a sign that it’s dried out and could snap anytime. The only way to stop that belt noise is to have a mechanic replace it with a new one.

Worn Out Bearing on the Pulley:

Belt can be noisy if any of the belt’s pulleys tends to fail. When the belt starts to experience friction on the pulleys, it produces a noticeable noise when the car accelerates.

Over time, some of these pulleys, known as tensioner pulleys, can wear out. When they do, they start making a chirping noise. This noise can also happen if the grooves on the pulleys get damaged.

This wear and tear occurs because of friction. Friction causes the belt to develop cracks. When these cracks multiply, the belt loses tension and the pulley system becomes less tight. This can eventually lead to the belt slipping or breaking.

Solution: Replace the Drive Belt Pulley Bearing

It is wise to seek the help of professional mechanics to fix this. Realignment of any pulleys that aren’t working correctly or replace worn-out tensioner pulleys can solve this. 

If you want to fix it by yourself, follow this video:

Make sure that all the pulleys are in a straight line. 

While the belt is off, check all accessory pulleys and idlers to make sure they spin freely and smoothly. If any are stiff or rough, they should be replaced. 

Any belt soaked in motor oil, power steering fluid, or similar liquids needs to be repaired. These fluids weaken the belt and can make it noisy.

Suspension System Problems:

If there’s something loose or broken in your car’s suspension system, it can make the engine vibrations louder causing sound. 

If you notice a suspension noise that suddenly goes away, it could mean that one of these parts is broken. It also refers that they’re not connected to the rest of your car anymore.

Solution: Fixing the Suspension

To fix suspension noise, replace damaged components, tighten loose bolts, lubricate relevant parts, or realign parts. Check what you need to fix with this guide.

If you are unsure about how to fix suspension noise, seek the help of a professional mechanic.

Wheel Bearing:

Wheel bearing may cause weird noise and It may increase with the speed and with turning, the noise gets louder again. Sometimes, people mistake it for engine noise, but there’s a way to tell. 

Solution: Checking the RPM Gauge

To know if it’s causing an issue, keep an eye on your RPM gauge. When you accelerate, both your RPM and speed gauges go up. Now, ease off the gas pedal while maintaining a steady speed and watch the RPM gauge. 

If the noise continues even when you’re not accelerating, it’s definitely not coming from your engine. It’s more likely a wheel bearing issue. You might need to visit an expert to check if the wheel bearing needs to be fixed.

Replacing a single wheel bearing usually costs between $200 to $400. The servicing charge of mechanics is around $161 to $203, and the parts needed are about $117 to $155. Where you live and the type of vehicle you have can change how much it costs to replace it.

Is It Safe to Drive With a Car Sounding Like a Fan When Accelerating?

No, it is not safe to drive if your car sounds like a fan.

It might be a sign that something’s wrong with the cooling system, exhaust system or the engine drive belt. These are crucial for your car to run smoothly. If they have problems, it indicates that your engine life is at risk and can get worse over time.

Ignoring these issues will not be wise because it could lead to severe accidents. So, if you notice a fan-like noise from your car, don’t wait. Stop driving, have your car checked, and get it fixed.

How to Prevent Car Sounding Like a Fan When Driving?

If you want to make your car quieter when you drive, here are some easy ways:

  • Put insulating materials inside your car to block noise.
  • Use foam to separate some heavy vinyl.
  • Put a rubber coating under your car to block noise and protect it.
  • Keep small tools separated in your car so they don’t make noise.
  • Check your car’s exhaust and tires. Add special seals to block noise if necessary. 
  • Put sound reducing mats that block extra sound in your car.

Overall, regularly inspecting car parts can help you to prevent unwanted sounds for a smoother ride.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Why Is There Loud Fan Noise When My Car Is Turned Off?

Damaged fan blades, electrical problems, or airflow blockage can cause fan-like noise. In this case, the cooling fan belt needs tightening, cleaning or replacing. Usually, hearing a fan noise when your car is off is okay because it’s part of the cooling process. 

Can a Loud Fan Noise from a Car Damage the Thermostat?

No, If your car’s fan makes a loud noise, it will not damage the thermostat but could harm the engine. Check the fan when the truck is cold and the engine is off. Spin it by hand; it should move smoothly and only go a quarter turn when you let go. If it stops immediately, the fan clutch is likely causing the noise with overheating.

How Long Usually Does a Fan Belt Last?

Usually, a fan belt can work well for around 50,000 to 100,000 miles or 80,000 to 160,000 kilometers. So, they might need replacement every 10 years of normal use. It can last a different amount of time depending on how well you take care of it. 

Closing Words

Hope this article has provided the answer of why your car sounds like a fan when accelerating. 

With these valuable insights including reasons and solutions, you can reduce your car noise and enjoy a hassle free ride. Always seek professional help if you are confused with the solutions and handle car parts carefully.

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