One of the annoying things to hear is the rattling loud noise from a PC fan. The growling noise of the fan blades is slowly getting into your head, and you may want to poke the CPU where the fan sits.
When the pc fan making a rattling noise becomes an obnoxious noise element that hurts your ears and brain, the only thing to do is find a solution to whether you fix the rattle or throw away the fan.
Why do you think PC fans behave like a passing jet over your head when it rattles?
Based on your computer hardware’s mechanism, multiple parts and forces are at play here. Let’s find them out what they are:
- Dirty CPU
- Loose bearings and screws
- Overheating hard disk
- High-speed fan
- Busy hard disk from simultaneous use of apps
Getting into the source of the problem is the easiest way to solve it. As for the rattling CPU fan, doing a handful of troubleshooting will fix the fan.
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Let’s get to the causes and understand better why your computer is misbehaving through that loud fan noise.
1. Dust and Grime Buildup
Excessive dust buildup in your computer’s fan will hamper its normal function. How do dust and grime accumulate?
The accumulated dirt forms into grime and prevents the fan blade from spinning, blocking the exhaust system inside. When the fan fails and cannot vent the cold and hot air exchange, it will malfunction its neighboring components.
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The growling noise is caused by the friction between the blades, preventing the fan’s smooth spin. A fan will be louder as it struggles to spin despite the sticky edges.
What can you do?
- Turn off the PC
- Open the CPU
- Unscrew the cooling fan
- Use a screwdriver; compressed air can, or duster to clean the dust
- Wipe away grease with a soft fabric
- Clean the dust filter if you installed one
PRO TIP: If you can’t bring back the fan in its original position, get an instructional manual to avoid damaging other computer parts or find a computer technician.
It is essential to check if the fan is put back correctly to prevent it from getting wobbly. Worse, it will fall to the next cause of grinding noise.
2. Loose Attachment
Another culprit why your loud computer fan keeps making noises is loose attachment. Even if you suspect that the fan is clean or have recently cleaned it, it will continue producing a raucous sound.
Loose parts like screws and other implements inside the CPU will make the fan wobbly when spinning. Also, if you hear an unusual vibration even after putting the fan back, open the CPU again and check what’s keeping the computer fan from making noises.
3. High CPU Temperatures
The central processing unit, or CPU, is the brain of the computer. Hence, all parts are interconnected and simultaneously running.
This hardworking nature of the CPU, while it sources its power from electricity, is expected to reach a high temperature when it is overused. You are lucky enough if you know how to check if your PC temperature is nearing overheating because CPU usage has something to do with the heating and cooling process.
When the CPU is overworked, so is the power supply fan or PSU fan as it tries to cool the CPU so it keeps on processing.
If the fan continuously sends rattling sounds, check with your PC provider or seller to troubleshoot what’s triggering the noise. The suggestions below will help you reduce the computer fan from making a rattling noise.
- Don’t block the computer fan’s vents.
- Use a cooling pad; it serves as an external fan but is primarily applicable for noisy laptop fans.
- Check fan assembly before disabling it.
- Clean vents and fans; use a vacuum or compressed air
- Avoid using too many programs simultaneously
- Modify computer settings that will not overwork the hard drive
- Turn it off completely; some people leave the computer in a sleep mode
- Replace worn-out power supply fans
- Check the CPU cooler too
- Place your computer in a room with an air conditioner
4. Too Many Resource-Intensive Apps
If you have a high-end computer, it indeed has resource-intensive applications installed in it. It means these applications are computer programs that are heavy on the CPU’s load. In other words, your computer has CPU-intensive tasks, resulting in an overworked hard drive.
With a hardworking computer drive, the applications use up more memory during runtime.
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Programs like video games and graphics-based applications utilize too much computer memory, compelling the CPU to run optimally and eventually overheat.
Avoid running computer applications all at the same time if you want your case fan from rattling.
For those who love gaming, ask your video card manufacturer for a GPU fan. A GPU fan is more than a CPU fan. It is a graphics card fan solely intended for GPUs to increase the efficiency of the heat sink within the PC.
PRO TIP: Apply thermal paste to the processor for an efficient flow of heat within the computer.
5. Too High Fan Speed
Your computer’s fan is a small device but an integral component that affects the entire heat emitted by the PC. Checking the speed of the fan will help you normalize your computer’s temperature.
If your computer is running hot, it means the fan is blocked. Hence, your computer will:
- Run slowly
- Turn off and restart randomly
- Make a rattling noise
- Download a speed fan app to monitor fan speed, temp, and voltage use
There are simple ways to stop computer fans from rattling. You don’t need to be an expert to figure out how to do it.
PRO TIP: Rattling sound inside the CPU could scare the hell out of you if you are not familiar with your PC. Don’t worry, it could only be a stray wire.
Below are practical suggestions you can make to stop a fan from rattling.
Place your CPU on a flat surface.
The CPU houses every part of the computer–microchips, motherboard, speaker system, wires, cords, memory sims, USB drives, cooling fan, etc. These components are hooked together, forming a system or serving as an engine for the computer to run smoothly.
When it is laid on an uneven surface, these parts will loosen. The flat flooring will maintain the integrity of the function of these parts.
Avoid putting objects on top of the CPU
With the same concept above, protect computer parts from any force from overloading the CPU case.
Placing decorative objects is not advisable and will only add weight that will compromise the vents of the CPU. And when parts get loose, they will create rubbing noise that will echo into an unpleasant growling sound.
Check the fan mounting bracket.
Any loose connections will start making additional noise when the fan starts spinning.
Conduct Regular Checkups
Even when the pc fan housing is not making any excessive noise, don’t assume that there is no problem.
Sometimes it could be the fan bearing. Do a routine cleaning and checking to ensure that everything is connected correctly, installed and screwed, and running smoothly like a well-oiled machine.
- Laptop fan making rattling noise–Like a desktop computer, a laptop has a fan installed inside. When your laptop fan produces a rattling noise, the same reasons and solutions apply. But for laptops, you can buy a laptop cooling pad to prevent overheating.
- PC case fan making rattling noise–If your PC case fan is a loud rattling after ensuring it’s completely silent, it must have something to do with the fan blades. Try spinning them manually if they will kickstart. If not, bring out the fan, and see if it works on a table. If it makes the same noise, it’s time for a replacement fan. If not, it could be a bearing or fan motor failure.
- The PC makes a rattling noise on startup–If you turn on your PC and start to make a loud sound, you will immediately suspect that there is a problem. Don’t worry; something could simply be hitting the fan. When any object obstructs the fan, it will surely ramble. Turn off your PC, open the case, turn it on again, and see if it will create noise. If it does, you can quickly check that and fix it right away.
- CPU fan making a rattling noise: If your CPU produces a bad computer fan sound, there could be a problem with the firmware even after applying the suggestions above. Try checking your computer specs and look for a CPU fan that fits your hardware and software system.
PRO TIP: A bad-sounding computer loud fan produces a quick-repeating noise or a ticking sound like a strayed wire from a bicycle spoke.
Is it normal to hear your computer fan?
Yes, it is.
Properly working computer fans produce a humming or whirring sound. The unusual sound coming from the noisy fan is annoying and odd, like a rambling or revving machine.
Clicking noise when you turn on your computer is also not a normal fan sound. These are all indications that there is a failure in your PC fan and should not be ignored.
Protect your PC or laptop from a fan’s rattling noise. If you suspect or hear a terrible computer fan sound, do something immediately to fix the issue.
Robert is an electronic engineer with more than five years of experience with a solid affinity for helping people reduce noise. He writes about these silent home appliances and easy soundproofing measures to help everyone avoid the negative effect of extended exposure to high noise levels.