How a Fan Clutch Works

Within a vehicle’s cooling system is a device known as the fan clutch. It is created to make the air flow through the car’s radiator if the vehicle stops or is running at slower speed. The flow of the air will bring the car’s coolant heat and is conducted by the engine’s radiator. This automatic device will partially unfasten from the engine’s radiator cooling fan when the car’s engine is cool or at its regular operating temperature. The fan clutch is located fronting the water pump. A belt and pulley drives it through a connection to the engine’s crankshaft, which is also a power-saving mechanism as the engine does not fully engage the fan. However, when the temperature of the engine becomes warmer than the clutch, the fan will be start to work for the maintenance of the engine’s cool temperature. A fan clutch is a viscous material mixed with a bi-metallic sensory system that is comparable to that in a thermostat. The viscosity of the fan clutch allows internal friction to occur by moving the molecules against one another thereby causing the fluid to defy flow. The bi-metallic sensory system is a band used in altering temperature change to be mechanically dislodged and is made of iron and copper layers.

Brief History of Fan Clutches

The fan clutch was invented sometime in the 1960’s and it was not until the 1970’s when it was in production fully. The primary objective for making clutch fans in vehicles was for saving engine power to get better gas mileage for the engine. In the past, when there was no fan clutches, a fixed fan was attached directly into the engine. Not only was this an energy waster, it was also a noisy contraption. The fan clutch, on the other hand, does not produce unwanted noise and saves engine power as it can disengage partially when the car stops running.

Common Fan Clutch Problems

The most common problem encountered with a fan clutch is when the car overheats while it is not running. This is when the fan clutch does not work properly and thereby decreasing the car air conditioner’s performance as the fan clutch also cools the condenser of the air conditioning unit. Another common problem in fan clutch failure is the high rate of air drawing that the heating system of the car will deliver lukewarm air rather than hot air during cold weathers.

When these problems arise, the best solution is to replace the fan clutch. It is recommended that you should consult with a professional car mechanic to have the job done. Do not wait for your car to be overheated or break down in the middle of the highway to get the fan repaired or replaced. Perform basic check on your car’s fan clutch while the engine is turned off. Examine it for possible leaks at the unit’s rear or front end. If there is a leak, replace the vehicle’s fan clutch. Then, check the blade of the fan and turn. Replace the clutch if the blade does not turn or has turned too fast. The fan blade should turn freely, but if it does not do so, it can mean that the fan clutch is locked up. Therefore, it needs replacing.