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Picture of How to Repair a Computer Fan
If you have a computer fan that sounds like the bearing has been replaced with gravel, there may actually be a simple fix. All you need is a screw driver, a small pick, and some lubricant. In this instructable, I repair my GPU fan. However, the process should be nearly identical for any fan in your PC.
 
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Step 1: Remove Fan

Picture of Remove Fan
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I repaired my GPU fan. First, find the screws holding the fan in place, and remove them so that you can access both sides of the fan freely. Now is a good time to clean up all the dust that's been collecting around the fan. Some canned air will work nicely.

Step 2: Remove Sticker and Split Ring

Picture of Remove Sticker and Split Ring
First, remove the sticker on the fan. That will expose the shaft and the split ring that holds the fan in place. Use the pick to gently pry the split ring off the shaft and remove the fan. Set the split ring aside for reassembly later. If possible, leave the o-ring in place. Otherwise, put it on the fan shaft.

Step 3: Lubricate

Picture of Lubricate
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I used some Hoppe's #9 gun lubricant on my fan. It worked great. Add a few drops of lubricant to the inside edge of the fan. Rotate it around until it looks wet. Try not to use more lubricant than necessary. It helps to put the fan back in the bearing and spin it around a bit to get a nice even coating.

Step 4: Reassemble

Picture of Reassemble
Be sure the o-ring is still in place as you put the fan back into the bearing and pop the split ring back on. Add another few drops of lubricant to the fan shaft around the split ring and spin the fan around a bit. It should be nice and smooth now. Reattach the fan and turn it on. If all went well, it should be nice and quiet again!
pfred220 days ago

What if there is nothing exposed other than the fan housing when you remove the sticker? Then you need to head on over to my new article.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Noisy-Computer-Fan-Repair/

What to do if there is no split ring?
There should be some kind of clip holding the axle in place.
prule4 years ago
Great tutorial. Very helpful. My GPU Cooler works like new. Thanks
zack2474 years ago
would sewing maching lube work too?
If you can get in there and wipe the crud out the bearing, it works that much better.
Punkguyta5 years ago
 Awesome to see someone else that figured out how to open computer fans right up!
djr67896 years ago
great instructable! my servers cpu fan sounds like theres a gun fight goin on inside my pc lol
That would be awesome! :D
or it could be all the dust mites having a nuclear war in there :O
Sandisk1duo6 years ago
you should also blast the "fins" with compressed air to get the dust off
For that I useubbing alcohol.
rshino6 years ago
thanks for this. i had a slow fan on a drive enclosure and the tip to take off the sticker was the one that set me up. thanks a lot.
Derin6 years ago
You can also use sewing machine oil on a Q-tip.But use no more than one drop for each part.Shaft gets one drop with Q-tip and bearing gets one drop straight from the bottle.
Scott_Tx6 years ago
Use grease instead of oil and it'll last longer
Actually for computer fans oil would work better. In all reality, most computer fans will never really need any sort of lubrication. I've re-oiled the fans on my computer that runs 24/7 only once in the past 3 years
I've used oil and oil and oil and then switched to grease and never had to re-do them.
wow, how old and how often is your computer on?
My computer started with a 486 and its been upgraded a part here and a part there for 15 or so years. I think the floppy is still original. :P
danymw6 years ago
correct: how to repair most GPU fans... any idea on normal,cpu or power supply fans?they sound like 7 years old vacuums(not pc's)...
damonkohler (author)  danymw6 years ago
The process should be nearly identical for any fan in your PC. Just remove the fan, remove the sticker, remove the split ring, lubricate, and reassemble.
thanks for reply