How can I fix a rattling fan in my laptop?
Question by Bumferry /

My laptop has been making a rattling sound for a couple weeks. I took the back panel off and cleaned it, but it still makes a noise. It comes and goes but is getting louder. The back up the laptop becomes very hot but it sits on a cooler. Is there anything I can do to fix this problem myself?

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Answers (4)
  • robynsc

    i have a small desk fan sitting behind my laptop to keep it cool. it blows into the vents. if your vents are on the side, you may want to put it there. i found raising my laptop off the desk did not work for me and neither did cooling mats. i have an old sony vaio.

    this way the internal fan doesn’t have to come on as much and, ergo, less rattling. and the external fans aren’t that expensive and cool you off when your windows freezes and crashes. :-)

  • Bumferry Hogart

    Thanks guys.

    I’ve not been brave enough to actually take apart the fan casing (just poked the cotton buds between the fan blades on my two attempts to clean) will pluck up the courage and watch the vids provided here.

    If all goes well, I’ll report back – If you dont here from me I will have probably destoryed my computer! keep ‘em crossed…..

  • smayonak

    This is a really great topic for discussion. Fans are extraordinarily complex systems, which, unfortunately, suffer from failures more frequently than comfortable. When the fan begins its death rattle, it’s a sign that one of its internal bearings (a sphere/bearing or axle) has failed. The sound should be that of the bearing grinding up against some internal component in the fan assembly. Oiling will help considerably, but once the failure has occurred, the rattling sound may not go away. Your heating issue may not entirely go away either.

    After disassembling your unit, you may notice that your fan has a sticker on its back. Here’s a good idea of what you’re looking for: There are several kinds of fans in modern laptops, some of which are impossible to oil properly. More or less, they have bearings that rotate the fan. The better lubricated these bearings are, the more efficiently the fan can spin, resulting in better cooling and longer system life. However, if the fan doesn’t get proper oil, it will slow down over time, resulting in decreased system life.I loosely group fan types into four categories, based on the type of bearing that they sport:1. Plastic sleeve bearing – responds very well to oil. Cheapest and most common in my experience.2. Ball bearing – responds well but is sometimes hard to oil. Type in video.3. Magnetically propelled fan (bearing?) – In my experience, responded best to oiling. These are also really easy to remove (they just pop off).4. Internal reservoir oiled bearing – cannot be properly oiled in my experience. As far as oils go, this is a tricky subject: Gina Trapani suggests using a low viscosity lubricant (she refers to it as a mechanical oil). In my experience, this is a good option (Susendeep Dutta’s options are good too as they are non-conductive, very important). I found, however, that the lower viscosity lubes tended to last for shorter periods of time than higher viscosity stuff. Also, higher speed fans can cause something called “separation” which is when the oil starts to spin off the bearings. However, higher viscosity lubes were tolerant of high RPMs. In summary, the cheap stuff is probably fine but just so you know, there’s higher quality greases out there.

  • Susendeep Dutta

    If you have cleaned your laptop’s fan then you must also try lubricating it.It might be making sound because the bearing of the fan might be facing friction.Try putting some oil (sewing/soyabean/canola) in the moving parts and you will get more life out of your fan but eventually if you want to use your laptop for more years to come then you need to replace the fan.

    Fix noisy computer fans with a drop of oil –

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