If your vehicle's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning fan seems too loud, there may be two possible simple fixes. Sure, there could be a big, scary, expensive problem. However, many issues related to the HVAC system in your car can be simple things to deal with.
Loud Fan? - Check Your Recirc Button First
If your fan is too loud the first thing to check is that your vehicle's recirculation button is not "on." If you are new to driving, the recirculation button is used to temporarily close off the intake. It is used when you drive through a smokey area, or get stuck behind a diesel vehicle spewing pollutants into the air around your vehicle. Temporary is the key word.
When you use the recirculation button, the fan sounds louder. Try turning off the recirculation button. Set it to "open." Your manual will have more information, but the image above shows how most work. When the light is illuminated, the car is recirculating the air. Tap it so that it turns the recirc off and opens the car to fresh incoming air.
Car Fan Too Loud? Change Your Cabin Air Filter (It's Super Easy)
Although we are vehicle experts, we are constantly learning. The fan in our personal Subaru Forester was getting louder and louder. To the point where at setting "2" we could not even hear the radio. While doing a maintenance story recently, we noticed from an image that it had been a full year since we changed that crossover's cabin air filter. So we ordered the part on Amazon and changed the Subaru Forester's cabin air filter.
Immediately the fan quieted down. We used the identical aftermarket part for the filter, so our assumption is that the dirt had constructed the filter and made it loud. The fan is now whisper-quiet, even at setting "3."
Changing a cabin air filter is very simple, and the part is very inexpensive. Typically, we see prices under $15 for these filters and they require no tools to change. You can see a full tutorial at this link on how to make the change in an example vehicle. You can also use Youtube to search for a video on your exact model.
If your car's HVAC fan became loud and was fixed, please tell us how in the comments below to help a fellow vehicle owner.
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career to chase his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin
Top of page Image courtesy of Kia media support. Other images by John Goreham.