A vehicle’s engine needs to be kept within a certain temperature range at all times. To prevent overheating when there’s minimal airflow through the radiator, the engine is equipped with a cooling fan, which is electric on modern vehicles.
The OBD-II code P0480 registers when the vehicle’s powertrain control module (PCM) detects a potential problem with the engine’s electric cooling fan or its control circuit. This guide will help you learn more about this code and explain why you need to get to the bottom of the issue immediately.
What Does the P0480 Code Mean?
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) P0480 stands for “Fan 1 Control Circuit.”
The engine cooling system uses liquid coolant that absorbs heat from the engine. The coolant then goes through the radiator that’s located at the front of the vehicle. When a vehicle is moving, wind goes through the radiator and lowers the temperature of the coolant.
When the vehicle isn’t moving, there is little to no wind that flows through the radiator to cool down the engine coolant. Because of this, the temperature of the engine increases. The electric cooling fan system provides extra cooling capacity, especially during hot days or when the vehicle is driven in conditions where airflow to the radiator is limited.
The engine cooling fan system is controlled and monitored by your vehicle’s computer and various sensors. The PCM detects the temperature increase through the coolant temperature sensor.
If the engine temperature reaches a certain value, which may vary depending on the car’s make and model, the PCM will activate the fan through the cooling fan relay. DTC P0480 will register when the PCM does not receive the proper amount of voltage from the cooling fan control circuit.
If left unaddressed, this trouble code can cause your engine to overheat and receive further damage. It’s advisable to stop driving your vehicle and have it checked immediately if your scanner shows this code.
Users have reported P0480 for the following makes: Chevrolet (especially on a Chevy Trailblazer), Dodge, Jeep, Ford, and Land Rover.
Note: The definition of code P0480 may be different depending on the vehicle manufacturer. Consult the appropriate repair manual or repair database for the exact code definition.
What are the Possible Causes of the P0480 Code?
There are a lot of reasons why the P0480 code might register in your vehicle. Listed below are just some of the possible causes of the P0480 code:
- Faulty cooling fan relay
- Faulty cooling fan
- Fan circuit issues, such as damaged wires or poor connections
- Faulty coolant temp sensor, wiring, or connections
- Issues with the PCM, such as software in need of an update
- A problem with the totally integrated power module (Chrysler products)
What are the Common Symptoms of the P0480 Code?
Below is a list of the tell-tale signs that you might be dealing with the P0480 code. In case you experience a combination of the symptoms below, it is best to stop driving and have your vehicle checked by a mechanic or technician before the problem escalates.
- Check engine light is on
- Engine overheats or temp gauge will read very high
- Pinging/detonation on acceleration
- Emissions test failure
- Fuel economy decreases
- Performance issues, such as the engine dying when coming to a stop and/or misfire-like symptoms might
- In some cases, there may be no adverse conditions noticed by the driver
How to Diagnose the P0480 Code
As with all OBD-II codes, diagnosing the engine code P0480 might prove to be difficult because there are multiple possible causes. You can watch the videos below to get an idea of what the diagnostic process might involve:
How to Fix the P0480 Code
There is no one-size-fits-all fix for the P0480 code, mainly due to the sheer number of reasons that could trigger it. For this reason, some people just leave the job to their mechanic.
If you feel confident about your DIY skills, you can use online guides and repair manuals to help guide you through the repair process. You can also get a single-vehicle ALLDATA subscription, which should be useful for this and most other future repair jobs you may need to do on your car.
Just remember that not all cars are the same, and a fix that may work on one particular make or model may not work on your vehicle.
Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic.