I have a 2009 Nissan Versa. This morning the ventilation/AC fan started making an awful noise, rather like a Piper Cub at takeoff. It also vibrated strongly, especially at the 3-4 settings. I checked under the hood but saw nothing suspicious, other than a bunch of sunflower seed hulls on top of the suspension bushing/gasket. The noise is coming from behind the dashboard.
There are probably leaves and twigs in the squirrel cage and/or blower motor. A mechanic can clean out the blower motor and squirrel cage for a nominal fee. I’ve never tried doing it myself because I am afraid of setting off the passenger airbag.
If you take this to an untrustworthy mechanic, he will probably tell you that you need a new blower motor, but you probably don’t.
I’ve found that using a car cover helps keep this problem from repeating itself when I have to park under a tree for long periods.
Thanks. I feared I had/have a mangled rodent in the fan. It’s kept in a garage, but we store bird seeds there and we do get a few mice/chipmunks that seek shelter.
It’s not over yet. You may indeed have a mangled rodent in there. You will know in a day or two.
But for now, assume it is nothing more than normal debris. The box can be cleaned out. However, on some cars this is a very time-consuming operation. Be prepared for a large bill. Make sure you first get an estimate.
The verdict is in: T’was indeed a rodent. My mechanic was unable to determine the species. My hunch is that it was a chipmunk. When the motor was removed a head fell out. Initially, I was told the remaining job would entail removal of the dashboard and six hours to accomplish this. Fortunately, he found some kind of access pannel and was able to extract most of the remaining corpse. Most. $140 for this vs $600+ for the full Monty. They sprayed the opening of the duct work with Ozium and sold me a can for $7. So far so good. We’ll see if the odor of carrion returns. I’ve got a large nose and epic allergies. I’ll know soon enough…
You might be in trouble down the road even if he got all of the animal out. It was probably storing food in there, which means that you ground it up and shot it into the evaporator chamber when you turned the blower on. Now you have powdered food that will get wet every time you use the air conditioner, which is a perfect breeding ground for bugs, and will smell fantastic before terribly long.
If your car is like many, the blower motor can be dropped easily, and the chamber immediately beside the blower chamber is the evaporator. It’s a good idea to get a garden hose with a spray nozzle and spray that down very well, then reach in with shop rags and make sure the walls and floor are clean.
I had to do that with one of my cars after a rodent stored dog food in the blower cage. It was disgusting work, and the longer you wait, the worse it will be. When I did it, I brought a laptop and a webcam out with me, and used it to peer into the chamber to make sure I’d gotten everything. You could even do that before you spray, to see if it’s even an issue.