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Radiator Fan

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Overview Guide to Replacing a Radiator Fan

The radiator fan is a big part of the car's cooling system that keeps the engine running properly. However, this device can easily give way especially if your vehicle is of age. This is usually noticeable when the temperature gauge is at a high reading and the engine struggles to perform well. Replacing or converting the radiator fan may be challenging for most people, but it's totally feasible for a seasoned DIY enthusiasts. The following are the tools and steps needed in order to do the job:

Required skill level: Intermediate

Needed tools and materials

  • Socket and wrench set

  • Screwdriver set

  • Hammer and chisel

  • Replacement radiator fan
  • Inspecting and preparing the radiator assembly

    With the engine off and the car parked, pop the hood and inspect the radiator assembly. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, it may be driven electrically or mechanically. If you're doing an OE replacement job, the task simply involves removal and replacement. However, for conversions, it's necessary to setup certain electrical wires and connections first before fully installing the fan.

    Removing the old radiator fan

    There are lots of screws and bolts that have to be undone in order for you to take out the old radiator fan. Some are one-piece assemblies that can be removed in one pull while others must be taken off piece by piece. For those that need to be separated first, work on the cover and shroud. A hammer and chisel can help you loosen things up. Follow this up by taking out the fan blades themselves. For electrical assemblies, make sure you disconnect the battery and wires before disassembling anything.

    Installing the new radiator fan

    Installing the fan is just the reverse of removal. Since the new piece is intact, all it takes is simply inserting the assembly in and securing it in place. Return the screws and bolts to their proper place. For electric fans, reconnect the wires properly to get it running. Start the engine to test if everything works fine.

    Tips and warnings

    • Since this involves lots of screws and bolts, it may help to take pictures of where each are placed to serve as your reference.

    • Conversion jobs require you to prepare various electrical setups prior to installation. Follow the specific procedures that come along with your new radiator fan to know how to configure the wires.

    Radiator Fan Articles

    • Replacement and Dorman Radiator Fans' 4-Point Battle

      You want a radiator fan to be strong and reliable so that can last the entire life of the car. Two brands that offer you solid options are Dorman and Replacement. Both are known to provide high-quality parts for your car. We installed cooling fans from each brand on our 2007 Chevy Cobalt and analyzed it in four key points to see which one has an edge over the other. Here are our findings:


      An order of a Dorman radiator fan for the Cobalt is sold at around $78. The one from Replacement costs only $50. The savings from the later brand may be more pleasing to those with a tight budget.

      WINNER: Replacement

      Contents and fit

      Each purchase of both radiator fans includes a multi-blade fan, a brand-new motor, and a protective shroud. The status of Dorman and Replacement as providers of OE parts holds water because the two assemblies are easy to install and make a perfect fit to the Cobalt. What we like most about both fans is that the same order from each brand is compatible across multiple years and trims of the Cobalt.

      WINNER: Dorman and Replacement


      We drove our Chevys over long distances just to push the engine and cooling system to their limit. We're happy to say that both cars survived our demanding trip with no trouble. The temperature reading rarely hit dangerous levels and the car moved smoothly. There was little to separate the performance of the two brands.

      WINNER: Dorman and Replacement


      When we examined the warranty attached to our purchases, we finally found where a big chunk of the extra cost went. The fan of Replacement has a warranty period of 1-year with unlimited-mileage. Dorman's on the other hand has a lifetime limited warranty.

      WINNER: Dorman

      The verdict

      It was hard to separate the two brands as far as compatibility and performance was concerned. If your budget allows, we recommend that your money goes to Dorman radiator fans. The extra cost from the longer warranty gives you more security and confidence with the product. At the end of the day, what you're really looking for is an engine that won't give up on you all because of a busted radiator fan. The one from Dorman certainly won't let you down.