So, my car's fan stopped working. A little help?

Which fan: The fan that blows air into the interior of the car to keep me comfortable, NOT the one mounted in front of the radiator to cool the engine. (side question: what is this fan called? is it the AC fan? The blower motor fan??)

The story: So, one day, it just stopped working. There are no causative events, it just stopped working. I turn the control from off to slow all the way to highest, and… nothing.

I’m thinking of checking the FUSE first.

Here’s a cut and paste of the manual:

Which fuse do you think controls this fan?

If it’s not the fuse, I think it’s probably the motor itself located under the glove box.

PS: Car is 2007 Toyota Corolla. It stopped working on a very cold day, my hands were freezing.

PPS: Someone mentioned the possibility of the culprit being the blower motor’s “resistor” but I thought the resistor only controlled the fan speed. This fan will not work at any speed. It’s dead.

If its the resistor, the fan will still work on high. Fuse #40 should be the fan, although the book says AC, it is labeled htr which is heater and generally means the fan. Next, turn on the fan (in your driveway) and reach up under it and whack it with something and see if it starts working again.


You may have to remove the glove box, which is easy to do, its hooked in place, no tools required. Past experience with the Corolla tells me to expect the blower motor to have a dirty armature and it is not making contact. Not repairable.

The resistor circuit actually controls the speed of the motor by routing the 12VDC through different “legs” of the circuit, containing different resistor values, depending on where you set the fan control. It is possible that the final cicuit out to the fan is bad. However, if the speeds were working before this failure, I;d suspect the blower fan motor itself.

The blower fan motor will be installed into (sticking through the wall of) your ductwork, down by your passenger’s feet. You can unplug and remove the motor, and test it with a regular 9 volt battery on your kitchen table. It has very low draw, and it should run smoothly and beautifully. I’ve done this more than once.

Be advised that the fan motor screws may be Torx, These are often used by Toyota for this application, apparently it makes the assembly process easier. Look carefully or you’ll be frustrated.

This happened to me last week. I went down under the dash, pulled the electrical connector for the fan, cleaned it and the connector on the fan, plugged it back in and now I have a blower motor fan again. It was as simple as that. Of course, my car is 10 years older than yours. It did have some corrosion. Yours might be a little “young” for this ailment but it cost me about 15 minutes of time and a nickel’s worth of electronics cleaner.

You can also test the fan motor directly as mountainbike described, but can do it in place by just rigging some wires. The “smartest” way is to use a jumper wire with an appropriate fuse installed. I actually made a chunk of jumper wire with a fuse holder in it to use for exactly this kind of thing. Its always ready to go & I can put any fuse in it I need.

If you happen to learn that your fuse is blown, then you have to find out why.

Thanks for the heads up, I’ll let know how it all went.

UPDATE: Got into the car today and everything worked. The fan came on and is working normal. How strange… it wasn’t working for two days and magically it worked today. This is puzzling.

Some theories:

  1. ECU/ECM causing this. My car, 2007 Corolla, has a ECU recall that has not been performed. The recall is for a failing ECU that may stall the car. It’s a safety recall. I haven’t done the recall because I figured I didn’t really need to and am a bit worried that new ECU might degrade it’s performance.

  2. The last two days, when I started the car in the early morning (3am) in freezing cold temperatures of 30 degrees. The fan wouldn’t come on at any setting. Today, the temperature is around 45 degrees and it worked normally. Might this have something to do with it? Possibly, let me explain. The fan has slowly degraded over the years of ownership and for the last two years it’s been making a slightly audible chattering sound. It’s something I can tolerate but I knew the fan would die someday, in the near future. My guess is that the cold temperatures built some frost in the motor fan (thus obstructing its movement) and the warm temperature melted it away, so now it’s working.

Any comments?

Perhaps you need a new fan.

“The recall is for a failing ECU that may stall the car. It’s a safety recall. I haven’t done the recall because I figured I didn’t really need to and am a bit worried that new ECU might degrade it’s performance.”

So you have a choice of having the "safety" recall or not because you fear it may degrade performance and you have chosen to ignore a safety recall in favor of some unknown degrade in performance?  

I would guess that it is equally possible the recall might improve performance.

This is quite characteristic of a bad connection at the fan, a bad/going bad fan motor, or a bad switch. So unfortunately I don’t think you’ve learned anything yet.

About the ECU Recall: This recall was issued by Toyota in midst of the Sudden Unintended Acceleration “hysteria.” I think they were being VERY pro-active. The number of incidents of failing ECU were very few. Anyway, that’s my thinking. It wasn’t that serious, at least not for my year: 2007. 2006 had the most incidents.

Honestly, that form of temperature sensitivity suggests to me that the fan motor might be on its way out. Thermal expansion and contraction often affects things with windings.

You could, I suppose, test this by removing the fan, sticking it in the fridge or even the freezer overnight, and testing it straight from the fridge with a 9V battery. The fridge should be about 35F and the freezer somewhere just below 32F.

This is typical behavior for the blower motor used in the Corolla. When you pull the blower motor, look at the armature, turn the motor so that you see the whole thing and you will see the problem. Unfortunately the blower motor can’t be taken apart to resurface the armature.