Automotive fans draw air in through a vehicle’s radiator to help cool and ventilate the engine and maintain optimal engine temperature, regardless of vehicle speed.
There are two main types of engine cooling fans for cars:
- mechanical fans (driven by the water pump’s serpentine belt)
- electric fans (driven by a motor that’s powered by the engine’s electrical system).
Mechanical automotive fans
Mechanical fans are typically controlled by a fan clutch, or fan coupling. This automatically engages or disengages the fan.
The clutch can be thermal or non-thermal. A thermal clutch opens or closes vents to control airflow based on the engine’s operating temperature. A non-thermal clutch operates the fan based on the engine’s revs per minute.
One exception is a direct drive fan. Although this is a type of mechanical fan, it doesn’t make use of a fan clutch. Instead, it runs off the water pump’s output shaft.
Another specialised radiator fan type is a flex fan. This is a direct-driven mechanical fan with flexible blades. The blades are designed to flatten out at high speeds to reduce the load on the engine.
Electric automotive fans
Unlike mechanical fans, electric fans add to the load on a vehicle’s electrical system. However, they can be more efficient than belt-driven fans.
The most common consequence of automotive fan failure is overheating of the engine.
Loud noises or noticeable vibrations coming from the front of the engine are also common signs of a damaged radiator fan.
Installing one or more replacement automotive fans is a fairly straightforward task, requiring basic mechanical skills and a simple tool kit.
Helpful resources online include:
We offer automotive fans from trusted international brands, FEBI and Thermocool.
Masterparts has been operating in South Africa’s auto parts and spares industry for over 45 years. We rely on strong supply chain relationships, with both local and international manufacturers, to offer the best aftermarket parts and spares – at affordable prices.
We offer door-to-door delivery of fans and other automotive parts and spares. Alternatively, visit any of our branches across South Africa or in Windhoek, Namibia.
Radiator expansion bottles in and around Cape Town:
Radiator expansion bottles in KwaZulu-Natal:
Radiator expansion bottles in Namibia:
Masterparts stocks automotive fans for an extremely wide range of vehicle makes and models. Contact us if there’s a part you need and we’ll do our best to help.