What is the Cooling/Radiator Fan Motor all about?

What is the Cooling/Radiator Fan Motor all about?

The engine in your vehicle is constantly burning fuel, while getting very hot. A car’s cooling system is responsible for transmission of heat away from the engine to the outside air. The cooling fan motor powers the cooling fan, in turn, keeping the engine from overheating. The cooling fan is located at the front or rear of the radiator. This fan is designed to cool the coolant as it circulates to the car’s engine from the radiator. Coolant flows through the entire engine and has the responsibility of absorbing extra engine heat, thus preventing the engine from overheating. When the fan blows the air from the outside and passes it through the radiator. When the cooling fan motor is defective and stops working, the fan will also stop working, causing the coolant to remain hot and cause the engine to overheat.

Keep in mind:

  • When you replace the cooling fan motor, you should inspect the cooling fan blade as well.
  • Whenever maintenance is conducted on the cooling system, the fan motor should also be inspected.

How it’s done:

  • The mechanic should scan the computer system or perform a diagnostic to detect any trouble codes.
  • Test all fuses and relays.
  • Test the electrical system for power and ground going to the fan.
  • Remove or replace the radiator cooling fan motor.
  • Make sure the fan is operating properly.

Our recommendation:

  • The radiator cooling fan motor is electrical and it resides in a high temperature environment. At some point over time, it may fail. If you notice that your engine is overheating (check the temperature gauge on the dashboard), and you cannot hear the fan(s) working, get your cooling system inspected right away.
  • Typically, your mechanic will check the coolant and fill, if needed.
  • Follow your vehicle’s maintenance service manual for scheduled replacement of the coolant. Typically, it is recommended to change the coolant every 25,000 to 40,000 miles.

What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Cooling/Radiator Fan Motor?

  • Vehicle overheats.
  • The Check Engine light may come on.
  • The Cooling Fan fuse may need replacing.

How important is this service?

If the cooling/radiator fan motor is defective and not immediately replaced, it will lead to engine overheating and then you’ll be unable to drive the car.  In addition, overheating may result in permanent damage to your vehicle’s engine.


At Crestwood Auto Clinic we treat our customers like old friend.  We know that your vehicle is one of the most important assets you own.  That is why we service your vehicle using the latest in automotive technology and we stock top quality cooling fans, cooling fan motors, mufflers, brakes, air conditioners, tire and other parts to keep your vehicle running in tip top condition.


5325 Old Middleton Rd.
Madison, WI 53705