How to Fix A Laptop Fan Making Grinding Noises

Have you ever noticed a grinding sound while working with your laptop or someone else’s? This grinding noise comes from the laptop fan and can be so uncomfortable that it would even distract you while working.

So in this article, you find everything you need to know about your laptop fan making grinding noises and the best tips to handle it.

Why is your laptop fan making grinding noises?

Several things happen, resulting in your laptop fan making grinding noises. Let’s look at some of them.

Insufficient ventilation

Your laptop needs air to cool as you work with it. You must have observed the small vents by the side of your laptop that emit air, and the air gradually becomes hot while you do a heavy task for an extended period.

This happens because the laptop fan inside blows the heated air out for the laptop to cool down. Therefore, keeping the vents clear of obstructions is advisable because your laptop dissipates more heat as you perform more tasks.

Insufficient ventilation is also why working with your laptop on the sofa or bed for a long time isn’t good. People working from home might find it convenient to work from the coziness of their beds, and as a result, the laptop dips into the cloth and obstructs the vents. In addition, although it is called a “laptop,” working with it on your lap is not recommended because your legs transmit heat and will hinder the air that is supposed to cool it down.

This will make the laptop overheat and give extra work to the laptop fan, making it work more. Also, if you do this frequently, you will experience your laptop fan making grinding noises, which might eventually damage it. So always keep your laptop on a stand or desk to avoid blocking the vents.

Excessive workload

Too much workloadcould lead to the laptop fan making grinding noises.

If there is software using more of your laptop processor’s resources, it will cause overheating and result in a laptop fan making grinding noises. For example, using your laptop for heavy-duty tasks such as programming, online games, and so on will make the fans work harder.

So gamers, programmers, and even those who constantly stream online videos will have to change their laptop fans more often than those that use their laptops for less heavy tasks like writing. On the other hand, people who use their laptops for simple tasks might not experience grinding noises throughout the laptop’s lifespan.

Constant overload can cause grinding noises, and the laptop fan will eventually have to be changed.

Dust in the laptop’s fan

The presence of dust can result in a laptop fan making grinding noises. When the laptop fan is dirty, and dust builds around it, the blades find it hard to move around easily. The fan’s primary duty is to keep your laptop cool by transferring heat through the vents on the side.

But when it isn’t functioning properly due to the dust, there will be overheating, leading to your laptop fan making grinding noises.

It could also be that the parts around the laptop fan have worn out.

When the hardware component surrounding the fan has rusted (these mechanisms are metal), the laptop fan starts producing grinding noises alerting you that they need to be changed.

How to fix a laptop fan making grinding noises – best tips

Following these tips, a laptop fan making grinding noises can be set.

1. Get a laptop stand or work table:
As mentioned earlier, working from your sofa or bed can obstruct the flow of cool air from the vent and lead to overheating, causing grinding noises. So working from a table and getting rid of the things that block the free passage of air could help.

2. Wipe the dust:
Since accumulated dirt is one of the causes of the grinding noises, a good option would be to clean the laptop fan. To do this, you need to open the laptop and use a brush to clean the dust from the fan and the surrounding surfaces. You can also use a lint-free cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol or oils designed to clean laptop components. 

For tiny spots that a brush or cloth may not reach, use a container with a thin nozzle to deliver cool air at high pressure. That way, you will eliminate the dust lodged in the inaccessible corners.

3. Use an external cooling pad:
When your laptop is used for extended periods and tasks that place a high demand 0on the processor, there might be a grinding noise. In such instances, you might purchase a cooling pad to cool your laptop externally, reducing the burden on the laptop fan.

4. Changing your laptop’s fan:
You should replace the fan if you have tried other tips and still experience grinding noises. However, it is best to contact an expert if you can’t do it yourself.

How to clean a laptop fan without opening it?

To clean a laptop fan without the hassle of opening it, you need to get a container of compressed air. So how do you use it?

  • Turn OFF your PC and remove its charger, don’t forget to take out the battery.
  • Find your laptop’s fan inlet vent. They are normally on the side of the computer, but this varies on the manufacturer and model. You can check the user manual or maker’s site if you are skeptical.
  • Direct the pressurized air nozzle at the outlet, but don’t shove too far inside and only offer a brief burst of air. Instead, aim at another vent and repeat the process. Blow pressurized air straight onto the rotor blades if you have the chance.
  • If your PC fan is exceptionally unclean or blocked with dust, blowing compressed air via the exhaust vents might also be beneficial. Again, depending on the model, these are often located on the side or back of the laptop.

Read also: Laptop Not Detecting My WiFi But Detecting Others

How to lubricate a laptop fan?

Carefully follow these steps to lubricate your laptop fan successfully:

  1. Turn your laptop over and take out the battery.
  2. Unscrew the casing, taking care not to lose any of the tiny screws. Next, remove the screws that are holding the laptop fan.
  3. When the fan is loose, dust the area around it with a brush. Don’t use water for this!
  4. Then, you need to unscrew the rest of the fan’s components. 
  5. Magnets are the only thing keeping the fan in place here, so pull it out but be extremely cautious not to bend any of the blades.
  6. Clear the dirt from the fan. Once your fan is completely free of dust and dry, apply a small quantity of sewing machine oil to the fan’s middle axle. Allow the fan to rest face-down so that any extra oil falls out.
  7. You can put the fan back in, whirl it around a bit, pull it out, apply an additional dab of lubricant, and continue the process 2-3 times to ensure that it is all nice and oiled.
  8. Insert the fan back in the magnetic holder and put the screws back.

Why your laptop fan is making grinding noises after cleaning

Even after cleaning, your laptop fan making grinding noises can still be an issue. The reason why this might happen could be as a result of overuse or excess workload. Or the hardware parts have worn out.

How to know when your laptop fan is bad

There are obvious signs to watch out for that tell you if your laptop fan is bad.

First, check if you can feel the cool air from the vents by placing your palm on the side. When you power the computer, the airflow might be quite small, but if you don’t feel anything even after working for a few minutes, you might have to replace your laptop fan.

Secondly, if you don’t feel anything from the vent, you should hear the sound of your laptop fan as soon as you put it on your system. Although it might not be too obvious immediately, you will notice it as soon as your laptop works at normal capacity. Your laptop fan is bad if you don’t hear anything even after 5-10 minutes and if your laptop’s temperature is up to 80 degrees Celsius.

Also, if your laptop frequently restarts without notice, slows to a halt while using it, or displays the infamous Blue Screen of Death, you may have a fan problem. When these occur, do well to fix your laptop fan; otherwise, it could damage your laptop.