The blower motor is an important part of the car’s heating and cooling system. It is responsible for delivering both cool and hot air, depending on how your climate controls are set. Without a working blower motor, you won’t be able to control the temperature of your cabin. You will know if your blower motor has failed when you experience problems such as weak airflow, unusual noises from the blower, and smoke or burning smell. When this happens, you might need a blower motor replacement, especially if it has failed to function completely. Replacing a failing blower is necessary to make sure that you’ll have a comfortable ride regardless of the weather. A blower motor replacement can cost around $300 to $600 depending on the car you own and the shop you choose to perform the replacement.
Blower Motor Replacement: What Can Cause a Blower Motor to Stop Working?
A blower motor is an important component of your car’s HVAC system. It is an electric motor that is attached to fans which are used to move air through the system. It is responsible for moving both cool and hot air, depending on how you have set your climate controls. Basically, the blower motor has two main functions and that is to circulate air inside the car and to blow hot air out the vents. When it fails to do its job due to some issues, your car’s AC won’t work like it’s supposed to. When this happens, you might need to have a blower motor replacement. But before we discuss this, we need to understand the basics of the blower motor.
The car’s blower motor can usually be found in the heater box, but its location can vary from car to car. Some cars have blower motors that are easy to access while in some cars, they have blower motors that are hidden under the dash. Large vehicles such as vans and SUVs are sometimes equipped with more than one blower motor.
The blower motor works by spinning when voltage is applied which in turn, causes the fan to spin. This fan is capable of moving a great volume of air at high velocities since the motor assembly is bolted in place. There are blower motors that use components such as fan relays and blower motor resistors to control the operation of the blower motor. With these components, you will be able to control the speed of the motor since it can be turned up or down.
As mentioned earlier, the blower motor plays an important role in your car’s HVAC system. This is because the airflow from the blower can be used to either cool or heat the passenger compartment. For example, when you turn on the heater, the blower motor will move the airflow across the hot heater core and send heat through the vents. On the other hand, when the air conditioner is on, the blower motor will blow air across the AC evaporator which will blow cold air through the vents.
But what causes a blower motor to fail that could warrant a blower motor replacement? Some of the reasons why a blower motor stops working include.
- Normal wear and tear. Although there is no set lifespan for the blower motor, it often happens in cars with high mileage. As the blower motor ages, its plastic fan blades may eventually become weak or brittle. How often the blower motor is used also has an impact on its lifespan.
- Dirt and other debris entering the car’s HVAC system. If debris finds its way into the HVAC box, it can cause your blower motor to fail regardless of its age or your car’s mileage. If it has failed, a blower motor replacement will have to be performed.
- Voltage is prevented from reaching the blower motor. When there is no voltage supplied to the blower motor, it will not function. This can be caused by a faulty fan relay, blower motor resistor, and climate control switches.
- The blower motor fan cage is obstructed. A blower motor may fail to function when its fan cage becomes obstructed. This can happen when there are some objects that have fallen down into the dash vents, or even small animals that find their way into the heater box. If this is the reason why your blower motor fails to work, you will just have to clean the fan cage and get rid of the obstructions for it to work again.
Blower Motor Replacement: What are the Symptoms of a Bad Blower Motor?
How will I know if my car is due for a blower motor replacement? You will know if you need a blower motor replacement or repair if you experience any of the following symptoms.
- Reduced airflow .
The heater and the air conditioner may still work even if the blower motor is failing. You may still be able to feel the cool or heat at the vents, but you may feel that the airflow or air pressure has dramatically reduced. You may notice this at all temperatures and all speeds.
A reduced airflow is one of the early symptoms you might notice that can indicate that you have a faulty blower motor. This can occur when the blower motor has worn out due to general wear and tear. If you feel that the airflow from your vents has reduced, it means that your worn blower motor can no longer push as much air through your car’s HVAC system like it used to. You might also start to notice that your fan may not work at certain speeds but works at others.
Since the blower motor won’t be able to push as much airflow since it is no longer as powerful like it used to, it can also affect the efficiency of the car’s defroster. This is because the defroster of the car uses the same fan to blow air at the windshield. So if the airflow is weak, the efficiency of the defroster will also decrease.
If you experience this problem, you need to take your car to a professional and have it checked. It is important to get the right diagnosis since this problem can also be caused by a number of components. You need to make sure that the problem is really caused by a bad blower motor before you decide on having a blower motor replacement.
- Unusual noises.
Unusual noises or sounds that are not supposed to be there are always a cause of concern. If you hear unusual sounds such as rattling or grinding noises that seem to be coming from your car’s passengers floorboard when your AC or heater is on, it can be an indication that you have some issues with your blower motor. The noises can be caused by a bad bearing or broken fan blades. You may hear the noises intermittently, coming and going at random. The noise may also change or go louder as the fan speed changes.
This problem can happen since the fan blades are made of plastic, making them susceptible to snapping off or damage. If you notice these noises, you need to have it checked and repaired immediately since it is most likely that you have a problem with your blower motor.
- Smoke or burning smell.
Whenever you notice smoke or a burning smell while you are driving, you need to pull over immediately, since you don’t know what caused it yet. It is better to be safe and pull over even though smoke or a burning smell can be caused by a bad blower motor. It might not damage your car, but it is better to make sure that it is not caused by something serious. The smoke or burning smell can happen when you have a blown fuse in the blower motor circuit. It means that the circuit has become overloaded. If this is the case, you will have to turn off your AC or heater and take your car to an auto repair shop to have it checked and repaired.
Blower Motor Replacement: How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Blower Motor in a Car?
If your blower motor is no longer functioning or is failing, you need to have a blower motor replacement. While this problem won’t leave you stranded somewhere or won’t have any effect on or damage your car’s other components, it can result in you and your passengers much discomfort, especially when you live in an area with extreme winters and summers.
A blower motor that is not working means you won’t be able to have climate control. There will be no heat or air conditioning while you are driving. If you don’t want to experience extreme heat or cold while traveling, you need to take your car to an auto repair shop and have a blower motor replacement.
A blower motor replacement can cost around $300 to $600 depending on the car you own and the shop you choose to perform the replacement. The process can be pretty simple and quick, but it can also take a while, depending on the car’s make and model, and how much damage it has.
The process of a blower motor replacement usually includes diagnosing the car and determining what caused the problem. The mechanic will check if the problem is just the blower motor and not something else. Some vehicles need to have their steering column and some windshield wiper components taken out in order to access the blower motor.
If this is the case, it might take a while to get the job done, and you should expect a more costly labor cost. But once the mechanic has gained access to the blower motor, removing and replacing it is pretty simple and straightforward. Once done and everything has been put back in place, the mechanic will then test the car out to check if the car’s HVAC is working properly.
Blower Motor Replacement: Can I Replace a Blower Motor Myself?
If you want to save some money on your blower motor replacement, you can do the replacement yourself. However, before you perform it on your car, you need to rule out other causes first. You need to make sure that the problem is not caused by a faulty relay, heater control failure, or any electrical issues.
To do a do-it-yourself blower motor replacement, you need to prepare your owner’s manual, new blower motor, ratchet and socket set, small flathead screwdriver, and a flashlight.
- To start, park your car on a level surface. Make sure that the parking brake is engaged.
- Open the hood and disconnect the car battery.
- Get your owner’s manual and find the location of the blower motor.
- If your blower motor is located below the glove box, remove the trim panel below the box. You may have to loosen and remove some bolts to do it.
- Once removed, use your flashlight and look for the blower motor.
- Once you found the blower motor, find 3 to 6 bolts that secures it in place. Using the sockets and ratchet, remove these bolts.
- Once done, you should be able to easily slide the blower motor out, slipping it off the HVAC vent connections.
- Remove the electrical power connector by pulling it out by hand or by using the flathead screwdriver.
- Get the new blower motor and compare it to the old one. Take note of how it was installed. Replace the gasket if needed.
- Reconnect the power connection and slide the HVAC vents back on, then slide the new blower motor into its bracket. Bolt it down to secure it in place.
- Put the glove box and the lower trim panel back in place.
- Reconnect the car battery.
- Do a drive test to make sure that everything is working properly.
Although a broken blower motor does not affect your car’s overall performance, a blower motor replacement should still be done since it can significantly affect the comfort of your ride during colder or warmer months. The process itself is pretty simple and straightforward, so there is no reason why you should delay a blower motor replacement.