The fan clutch is a key part of your cooling system within your vehicle. This part can range in
price, determining what kind of vehicle you have, like the make, model, and year, and where
you get the repair or replacement done. A fan clutch replacement cost will range anywhere
from $75 to $200 for just the part, without the labor costs.
For example, at a popular chain store like AutoZone, the fan clutch parts retail between $90 to $175. When labor is accounted into the overall fan clutch replacement cost, the total price can range between $285 to $500 to replace only the fan clutch.
Let’s look and see the function of the fan clutch in your vehicle, the mechanism of the clutch, the symptoms of a bad or faulty radiator fan clutch, and the average replacement cost for this part in your car.
What is the fan clutch?
In older models, the fan clutch is often completely controlled by the engine’s temperature compared to the engine speed. As the clutch heats up and the friction gets
stronger, the parts inside of the engine can rub against each other and build up more heat.
The excessive heat also causes the fan to rotate closer to the speed at which the engine is moving.
Fan Clutch Mechanism
When the fan clutch cools off, the engine fan slows down due to the reduction in the amount
of friction produced within the engine. The excess friction, however, can vary spending on the engine speed decreasing or increasing suddenly. As the state of the clutch changes, this determines how fast or how slow the fan can speed up or slow down during use.
Fan Clutch Function
The goal of the fan clutch is to prevent the engine fan from running unless it is absolutely
needed due to the high amount of friction, providing more of the power within the engine is
used for the operation and performance of the vehicle instead of cooling down the parts.
Electronically controlled fan clutches work in the same way, but they are controlled by a
control module instead of a mechanical piece.
The fan clutch is in charge of spinning loosely until the temperature reaches a certain level,
at which point the fan clutch will fully turn on and engage so that the fan can work at the
highest efficiency and performance level. Usually, a bad or failing fan clutch will produce
some symptoms that you can notice and alert you to the overall price of a fan clutch
Symptoms of a Faulty Fan Clutch
One of the first signs and symptoms associated with a bad or failing fan clutch is an overheating engine. The fan clutch is responsible for controlling the operation of the cooling fans. If the fan clutch is not working or not engaging properly, this can disable the fans or prevent them from working at the optimal level and working at maximum efficiency.
The lack of a fan clutch and cooling mechanism might result in the engine overheating, leading to additional issues and a more expensive fan clutch replacement cost over time and if left unattended.
Loud Noises From Cooling Fans
Another common symptom that most drivers and passengers will notice as a sign of a failing fan clutch is an excessively loud cooling fan in the car. If the fan clutch gets stuck in the engaged position, the fans will continually run and turn on even when it is not desirable for them to be on, and the driver does not want them to be running.
The continuous ‘on’ position might result in an excessively loud engine from the fan blowing at full speed, blowing out cold air, and running very high.
Decrease in your car’s performance levels
A decrease in your car’s performance abilities and the fuel efficiency can be a key sign and symptom of a bad or failing fan clutch. A faulty fan clutch that leaves the fan constantly engaged will cause a very loud and noisy engine and decrease performance and engine abilities.
A stuck fan clutch can cause a higher amount of pressure and drag on the engine and can lead to a drop in power, acceleration, and fuel efficiency. The reduction in performance can sometimes be very noticeable and cause a huge drop in miles per gallon.
Fan Clutch Replacement Steps
You can take various steps to perform the correct fan clutch replacement and estimate the overall fan clutch replacement cost.
Get the Correct Size
First, you will need to identify the nut size that you will have to use. Each fan clutch will have its own mounting nut size, ranging between 22mm to 36mm, depending on its type and manufacturer.
Ensure that after you find the correct size that you check the fan clutch for any problems. A fan clutch in proper working conditions will have resistance when you try to spin the part with your hand.
However, if the fan clutch does not offer enough resistance or provides too much, this can sign that your fan clutch replacement cost will be higher.
Hold the Water Pump Pulley
Next, you have to hold the water pump pulley. You must hold the water pump pulley to remove the fan clutch from the water pump. They make a special tool that you can use for this, so it is pretty easy to have done yourself.
Loosen the Fan
After you have removed the fan clutch, you can install a large crescent wrench onto the fan clutch nut. This diagnostic tool lets you loosen the fan, which you will have to continue doing by rotating the fan in the same direction while watching the threads. If the nut is not turning, you can use the wrench to help it along.
You will find that several bolts will have to be removed on most fan clutches that you find in modern-day vehicles to remove the fan clutch shroud correctly. Most modern cars will also require the car owner to remove the top of the radiator hose to access the fan shroud.
If this is the case and you have to remove the radiator hose, ensure the coolant is drained from the system prior to removing the hose. If you do not drain the coolant, this can cause a higher fan clutch replacement cost.
Remove the Fan Clutch
Once the fan clutch is loosened, it is time to remove the fan. There are usually two ways that the fan will be attached to your car – either by four bolts or by a large nut that requires the use of a special tool to loosen and remove from your system. By removing this large nut that is keeping the fan in place, you can ensure that the fan clutch replacement cost stays low.
Remove the bolts
Once the fan is removed, you have to secure the fan with plenty of space for you to work on the apparatus. There are four large bolts on the center of the fan – remove these so that the fan clutch can be freed from the hold of the fan. This allows you to work on the fan clutch and keep the overall fan clutch replacement cost as low as possible.
5. Replace the Fan Clutch
The fourth step is to replace the fan clutch, which you will need to accomplish by removing the four-six 10mm bolts from the fan clutch that holds it to the blade itself. Once the bolts are removed, reinstall the fan clutch down in front of the water pump, ensuring you do not contact the radiator or damage the plastic fan blade.
Fan Clutch Replacement Tips
Ensure that you keep a few things in mind when dealing with the radiator fan clutch. Never touch a fan while the engine is running and the ignition key is on. Especially if the fan clutch is permanently seized and not working, the fan will be spinning at the same speed as the engine, with the engine’s full power pushed behind it.
This can easily mean that you can cut your hand or your arm. Make sure you wear tight-fitting clothing and never wear loose clothing while leaning over the engine compartment. If the loose clothing becomes trapped, the fan can pull in the clothing. Keep these important steps in mind when figuring out the total fan clutch replacement cost.
Repairs Related to the Fan Clutch Replacement Costs
Air Conditioning Condenser Fan Motor Replacement
One repair related to radiator fan clutch replacement is the air conditioning condenser fan motor replacement, running between $319 to $424. The next repair is the oil change, which is a relatively inexpensive price, but costs between $141 and $165.
There are key reasons you should never skip an oil change, like preventing poor vehicle performance, keeping a high resale value, increasing poor gas mileage, and avoiding unexpected breakdowns.
Brake Booster Replacement
Another repair related to radiator fan clutch replacement is the brake booster replacement, costing between $588 and $764. A brake booster is the part of your vehicle that is responsible for providing some extra braking power, relying on mechanical leverage to push hydraulic fluid with enough force to push the drum cylinders to both the front and rear wheels. This repair can also influence the radiator fan clutch replacement cost.
Windshield Washer Fluid Reservoir Replacement
In addition, you might need to get the windshield washer fluid reservoir replaced, running between $172 and $204. The automatic trans shift cable replacement might also be needed, running between $253 and $289 and influencing the overall fan clutch replacement cost you will have to pay.
Sample Fan Clutch Replacement Costs
There are sample prices and an average price of the fan clutch replacement cost that can help give you an idea of how much you are going to have to pay for your specific type of car and vehicle. The first sample price is for the BMW 330Ci, which runs between $385 and $500 for the average fan clutch replacement cost.
The second least expensive price is the 2008 GMC Yukon XL 1500, with the cost of the parts is $178, the labor cost being $80, and the overall estimate being $258.
The middle of the road options involve the 2006 Infiniti G35, with the cost of the parts is around $166 and the labor cost being $112, coming out to around $280 in total. The next most inexpensive estimate for the fan clutch replacement cost is the 2007 Lexus GX470, with the total parts costing $210 and the labor cost coming in at $80.
The most expensive option regarding the fan clutch replacement cost is the 2012 Chevrolet Corvette, coming out to $418. The parts cost is around $330, while the labor cost is around $88. The most expensive cost is for the 2005 Buick LaCrosse, with the total price coming out to $553 and the labor costing $231, while the total parts cost is $321.
We have included other popular car models in this sample section are the Dodge Durango, Ford Ranger, Jeep Cherokee, Ford F150, Nissan Pathfinder, and the GMC Envoy.
The Dodge Durango is the cheapest option on this list, ranging between $145 and $250. The next least expensive option on this second list is the Ford Ranger, with the price between $155 and $280. The third cheapest option is a tie between the Ford F150 and the Jeep Cherokee, both running in price between $175 and $300.
The two highest options include the Nissan Pathfinder coming in at between $195 to $325 for the total price, and the GMC Envoy, ranging between $350 and $475 for the total fan clutch replacement cost.
Safety in Driving With a Faulty Fan Clutch
Vehicles with a seized fan clutch can be operated for a very long time, but the engine might lack power. The lack of power means the fuel economy and the miles per gallon can greatly diminish, and the engine will run a lot cooler and at a lower temperature than its optimal operating temperature, showing a clear sign that the fan clutch replacement cost might be high.
As you can see by now, the fan clutch is a key part of your cooling system within your vehicle. The fan clutch can range in price, determined by what kind of vehicle you have, like the make, model, and year, and where you get the repair or replacement done.
A fan clutch replacement cost will range anywhere from $75 to $200 for just the part, without the labor costs. When labor is accounted for in the overall fan clutch replacement cost, the total price can range between $285 to $500 to replace the fan clutch only.
When looking at how much you might spend on the fan clutch replacement cost, it is imperative that you keep in mind the sampe prices and costs from the most popular vehicle models on the market today.
There are sample prices and an average price of the fan clutch replacement cost that can help give you an idea of how much you will have to pay for your specific type of car and vehicle. The first sample price is for the BMW 330Ci, which runs between $385 and $500 for the average fan clutch replacement cost.