CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Fan runs on startup

I received an oil change and full-service workup by a verified service dealer a few weeks ago. I have a 2012 Ford Escape (6c, XLT, 4whl dr) if needed to know. The technician that previously did my oil change told the service desk that I needed a new oil pan which can be costly since my warranty expired. He was fired… the new technician that did my last service cleaned everything up really well and said there was no need for anything the previous guy suggested. But now my fan kicks on every time I start my car, and the other day my heat wouldn’t work so I put it in park, turned the car off, and restarted. Then the car made an awful noise and a small amount of smoke appeared under my hood where the fan would be located when the heat kicked on. I’m almost scared to drive my car at all. Any suggestions as to why this is happening?

If you are talking about the heat and AC fan, then likely the fan switch resistor or electronic fan controller just burned out. You way also have something stuck in your fan preventing it from running - the noise you heard. Take in to your favorite auto repair shop and tel them what you told us - leave out the oil pan and fired mechanic, it is not related to your problem.

Thank you. I actually have an appointment to be there tomorrow. Do you think it could damage my car in any way if I continued to drive it until then?

The fan assembly has a control module.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=3423798&cc=3015248&jsn=446

This control module was probably malfunctioning causing the fan(s) to operate when they shouldn’t have.

So, either the module failed or a fan motor failed, and that was the smoke.

It needs a new fan assembly.

Tester

You state “the car made an awful noise and a small amount of smoke appeared under my hood where the fan would be located when the heat kicked on.”

The fan under the hood is there to cool the radiator and A/C condenser. The fan that provides heat to the car’s interior is located under the instrument panel (dashboard). If this work was done at a Ford dealer, I would advise having the car towed back there before further damage is done.

No, drive on… probably with no heat, or at least with not fan to blow the warm air.

Thank you! I have an appointment for tomorrow to check out the situation. At least now I know the prices that the parts could potentially cost!