How Does a Radiator Fan Work?

radiator fans

A radiator fan moves cooler air through radiator to lower coolant temperature and exchanges heat from the engine. When an engine is running, it produces heat, and that heat dissipates so that the engine does not become too hot and overheat. The cooling fans are part of the cooling system and their design helps to keep a cooler temperature in the engine. The cooling fans, with between four and eight blades, spin rapidly to provide cooler air to the engine.

The fans do not work alone. They are part of a larger overall cooling system in the vehicle. All of the parts need to be working correctly for the fan to be able to do its job and cool the engine. Different kinds of radiator fans exist, and they all work slightly differently.

Where Is the Radiator Fans Located?

The radiator fans are situated between the radiator and the engine, although some radiator fans are located at the front of the radiator. Many of the fans are electric. The electric radiator fans mounted in the front of the radiator are known as pusher fans. Those located at the rear of the radiator are called puller fans. The pusher fans receive air that comes in through the grill area and then they push that cooler air over the radiator. The puller fans pull the air from the grill, drawing it over the radiator. The electric fans get their power through the electrical system.

How Does the Thermostat Affect the Fan?

The thermostat in the cooling system controls many of the electric fans. When the temperature in the engine reaches a certain preset temperature, the fan will begin cooling the engine. When the temperature dips below that preset temperature, the fan will turn off.

Other Types of Fans

Another type of fan is the engine driven fan. This unit spins when the engine is running, and it always spins at the same rate as the engine. The faster the engine is running the faster the fan will spin. Some of these fans have a clutch that will allow the fan to stop turning when the RPM reaches a certain level. The reason that the fan does not have to work at these higher RPMs is that there is enough air coming in over the radiator that will be able to cool the engine.

A third type of fan is called a flex fan. The blades on the flex fan are thin and are made of aluminum or stainless steel. When the vehicle reaches a certain speed, the blades of the fan will flatten, which will provide the engine with more power that it can use.

If you find that your vehicle is not cooling off properly, the radiator fan might be the culprit. You can replace the fan with a new unit. If you have never replaced a fan before, make sure that you understand how the replacement is done. It is possible to install the fan incorrectly and cause it to run backwards, which will not give you the intended effect. You can always turn to a professional if you feel as though fan replacement is beyond the scope of your do-it-yourself skills.