A fan clutch is an integral part of a vehicle’s cooling system. If it fails, overheating and serious engine damage are a real possibility. Most consumers are only vaguely aware of this, and getting too technical when explaining it to them can only confuse matters.

We created this guide to make it easier for technicians and shop owners to explain fan clutch failure to a customer. 

Explaining The Role Of The Fan Clutch

When it comes to the cooling system, many customers assume that it’s simply comprised of the radiator and some coolant running through pipes. In their minds, a cooling system failure should only happen if the coolant leaks out.

If there is no coolant under the car, surely all is well? This is where a basic technical explanation of the fan clutch is a good idea. On short, here’s what a fan clutch does:

  • The radiator fan pulls cool air over the radiator
  • The fan clutch regulates when the fan is activated
  • This keeps the engine operating at the correct temperature

Comparing the fan clutch to a variable-speed desk fan can more easily link the concept for customers who are struggling with the concept.

How You Know The Fan Clutch Is Failing

Some customers can be skeptical of any repair that doesn’t fit into the regular servicing schedule. Explaining the signs of a failing fan clutch can get them to see that replacement is important. They may even have been experiencing some of these symptoms already. Here’s a rundown of what they should look for:

  • Engine running hot – A warning light on the dashboard or temperature gauge in the red. This happens if the fan clutch doesn’t switch on when needed.
  • Poor fuel economy and noise from under the hood – A fan that is always on will be noisy. And the extra load on the engine will increase fuel consumption.
  • Cabin heat not working properly – An engine that is running cold won’t be able to heat the cabin efficiently.
  • Excessive play on the fan – the bearings or clutch may be damaged.

If some of these symptoms are already happening, showing the customer will help calm their fears.

Remind the customer that partial failure and intermittent operation of the fan clutch is also possible. Unlike an obvious coolant leak, the fan clutch may still operate in certain conditions. But ignoring it can result in an even more expensive engine rebuild.

What Happens If You Ignore A Failing Fan Clutch?

Some customers may still want to wait till the next service to replace a failing fan clutch. Explaining what can happen if they do could change their minds. Ignoring a failing or failed fan clutch can result in:

  • An overheated engine – If the engine gets too hot, the cylinder heads can get warped. This can damage the engine internals and is far more expensive to fix.
  • Damage to the radiator or fan shroud – If the fan clutch fails, the fan blades may hit the radiator or fan shroud. These sharp pieces of plastic can cause more damage.
  • Excessive strain on the cooling system – a cooling system that is always running hot is asking for trouble. The water pump and hoses will have a shorter lifespan. And the engine will eventually overheat.

GMB Has A High Quality Fan Clutch For Your Vehicle

GMB is an industry-leading manufacturer of OEM and aftermarket automotive products. We believe in quality, and every GMB fan clutch meets or exceeds OEM specifications.

Even industry pros need a refresher from time to time. For a quick overview of the important points surrounding fan clutch issues, read our blog here.

With locations in California and New Jersey as well as a global presence in Asia and Europe, there are dozens of GMB part retailers and wholesalers within reach. Wherever you are based. For further information, contact our GMB experts today.


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