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Something stuck in fan

On Friday night I turned on my 2002 Toyota Highlander and when I turned on the fan for the heat there was a click, click, click, like something was stuck in the fan. The sound is coming from under the dash of the front passenger’s side. How easy is it to take apart and find out what is stuck in it?

I don’t want to fork over $90 an hour when it might be something I can do myself!

Any advice would be helpful.


It’s certainly something that you can do yourself, but you’d better set aside a whole weekend for the job, and have a backup plan for if your car isn’t ready to go on Monday. On most cars you have to do a LOT of surgery to get down to the blower fan. I’m talking “remove the whole dash” here. It’s not overly complicated, but it involves a lot of time, and being slow and careful so you don’t break something. I would very strongly recommend that you get the Helms manual for your car if you decide to do this yourself, because taking dash parts apart in the wrong order can break them.

Also, get a bunch of little containers, some masking tape, and a sharpie. Put screws/fasteners from any single component into a container and label it. It’s easy to lose screws and to get confused as to which one goes where when you’re taking apart that much stuff.

Also, while you’re at it, check where you park the vehicle for signs of rodents. What usually happens is that a mouse or a vole will either make a nest or store food in there. If you don’t get rid of the rodent problem, you’ll just have to do this again in a few weeks, especially since now is the time that they’re busy storing the last of their winter food.

I don’t envy you. This happened to my MR2 - a mouse broke into the dog food bag and stored about half a cup in the blower fan. Took forever to get down to it, and that was with a roof that I could take off to give me more room.

To this day, 6 years later, the car still occasionally smells like kibble.

Thanks for your help! I will have to think about fixing it on my own. With a full-time job and two kids I have to decide if I really have the time and energy. I have had a evidence of a mouse in the engine before and that is probably what happened. Although I would rather have it smell like kibble than to have it going click, click, click. A smell would be better than worrying about breaking the fan or having the fan motor burn out.