Radiator Fans and Your Vehicle’s Cooling System

Radiator Fans and Your
Vehicle’s Cooling System

Introduction: If you’re old enough to have been around cars a few decades ago, you’ve probably heard the term “fan belt” tossed around. Back in the day, the radiator fan in your vehicle was turned by a belt driven by the engine. While those belt-driven fans are still found in some vehicles today, most modern cars have transitioned to electric fans. 

The Basics of Cooling

As your vehicle’s engine runs, it generates a significant amount of heat; this is where the cooling system comes into play to prevent overheating. Coolant (also called antifreeze) circulates through the cooling system and captures heat from the engine. The coolant then flows into the radiator, where air cools both the radiator and the coolant before returning it to the engine to absorb more heat. The key is to keep the engine within an ideal temperature range–not too hot and not too cool.

In today’s vehicles, electric radiator fans play a pivotal role in helping to keep your engine at the optimal temperature. A switch, strategically placed within the cooling system, continuously monitors the coolant’s temperature. When the coolant’s temperature hovers at the lower end of the safe range, the switch turns off the fan motor. However, as the coolant temperature rises, the switch springs into action, turning on the fan to cool things down.

Many modern vehicles are equipped with two radiator fans. Depending on various conditions, one or both fans may be operating at any given time. When cruising at highway speeds, the rush of air over the radiator and around the engine naturally helps in controlling heat. On the flip side, city driving with frequent stops and starts doesn’t offer the same natural airflow, so radiator fans have to work overtime to maintain the optimal temperature.

Air Conditioning and Radiator Fans

If you’ve ever wondered why your radiator fan seems to be working harder when you’re using the air conditioning, here’s the answer: when you engage the A/C, it adds an extra load to the engine, generating more heat. To counter this, the radiator fan often kicks in to dissipate the extra heat created by the air conditioner, ensuring your engine doesn’t overheat under the added strain.

Maintenance Matters

Now, here’s a crucial point to remember–radiator fan motors and the switch are wear-and-tear items. Over time, they will eventually fail. If you ever find your temperature light coming on while driving, it’s likely due to a cooling system issue. At this point, it’s essential to schedule a cooling system inspection. Regular servicing will not only keep your engine running smoothly but also extend the lifespan of all the cooling system components.

Radiator fans may not be the most glamorous part of your vehicle, but they’re essential for maintaining the health of your engine. If you suspect an issue with your cooling system or are due for maintenance, schedule an appointment at EuroCar Service! We specialize in complete care for European makes, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Mini-Cooper, Fiat, Volvo, Volkswagen, Saab, Jaguar, and Smart Car

Schedule an appointment with us today at (206) 527-8828, or request an appointment through our online form.  

Keep Your Air Flowing with Air Blend Box Maintenance!

When the temperature of your car gets too uncomfortable, all you’ve got to do is push a few buttons or turn a few knobs, and voila! You instantly have warm or cool air blowing on your face or feet. But how does this work? It’s all thanks to the air blend box.

What’s an Air Blend Box?

The air blend box is a small device that sits behind your dashboard and helps to direct the right temperature of air wherever you’d like it. It’s made up of several components. First, there’s a blower fan. This can blow the air at different speeds depending on how much air you’d like. It can pull in fresh air from outdoors or it can recirculate the air from inside the cabin. Recirculating air can get stuffy after a while, but it’s good to use this setting when you’re first starting the heat or AC because it will bring the cabin up to a comfortable temperature quicker.

The blend box directs air over the heater core (which helps to warm the air) or over the air conditioner evaporator (which works to cool the air). It can also create a blend of warm and cool air to create a temperate temperature. From there, the blend box can also direct the air out into the passenger compartment through the floor vents, panel vents, the defroster – or a combination. All of these options allow for complete customization of your car’s climate.

Some vehicles also have different climate control zones. For example, your car might allow you to have one air and temperature setting for the driver and another one for the passenger or back seat. This feature uses additional blend boxes.

Signs of Air Blend Box Trouble

Unfortunately, the blower motor and the various actuator motors that open and close the blend doors can fail over time. Once this happens, they’ll need to be replaced. Although they can fail suddenly, there are often some signs that the motors are on the way out:

  • A clicking or clanking noise coming from behind the dash when you first start the car or when you change the heater or AC settings
  • The heater blows cold air instead of warm air, and the A/C blows warm air instead of cool air

Another thing to consider if you’re having airflow issues is the cabin air filter. Most newer vehicles come with a cabin air filter that removes impurities from the air before it’s sent to the blend box. If the air filter isn’t replaced, it can become clogged and smelly, and it can lead to the growth of mildew or other types of microorganisms in the blend box. If you live or frequently drive in an area that has dusty conditions or a high pollen count, you may need to replace your cabin air filter more frequently.

Contact EuroCar Service for All Your Airflow Needs!

If you’ve noticed issues with your car’s airflow or temperature control, visit EuroCar Service! We can perform a heating/air conditioning system service that will keep your system clean and disinfected – plus, it can remove any unwanted odors caused by mildew or microbial growth within the system. We can also assist you with setting up a good cabin air filter replacement schedule.

At EuroCar Service, we specialize in keeping European vehicles (like Audi, Fiat, BMW, Land Rover, Mercedes, Mini Cooper, Saab, Jaguar, Volkswagen, Volvo, and Smart Car) performing their best. Schedule an appointment today by calling us at 206-527-8828 or request an appointment online.