Having a loud PC fan isn’t just incredibly annoying and distracting, but it can also make you quite stressed if you don’t know what’s causing this noise.
Whether it happens every now and then, or it’s a recurring event, this rattling sound can be rather unsettling.
In most cases, a PC fan making a rattling noise doesn’t indicate a serious issue with your computer. However, there could be some larger core issues beneath the surface that you should look into.
Why is the PC fan rattling, and how can you stop this from happening? Keep on reading to learn more about the most common causes, as well as the best solutions for this issue.
Why is your PC fan making a rattling noise?
The hardest part about fixing a PC problem such as this one seems to be finding what’s causing it, and not actually fixing it. When you think about it, that makes perfect sense, as the most important step of the process is adequately detecting the issue.
If you have a problem with a rattling computer fan, here’s what could be causing it.
1. Dirt blockage
Computer fan making rattling noise often sounds like the fan is facing some impediment and is unable to rotate properly. In the majority of cases, there is some kind of blockage – mostly a buildup of dirt, dust, and all kinds of debris.
While dust and similar particles may not seem large enough to create this kind of blockage and disrupt the spinning mechanism of the fan, over time, it may build up and create a problem.
In this case, all your PC fan needs is a good cleaning session, after which it should work just fine. Also, remember to add your PC components, including the fan, to your cleaning schedule – at least once a month.
In case the rattling noise is still not gone after you’ve thoroughly cleaned the fan, this issue may be a bit more complex.
2. Loose component
Often, the noise you’re hearing is actually the fan case rattling, especially if it hasn’t been mounted properly. It is necessary to assemble and mount the fan according to the manual, including all the components.
If any of the components aren’t connected properly, they could move with the fan and cause an unpleasant rattling sound.
Also, check if any of the screws or small components ended up in the fan, as they could not only cause the rattling noise but damage the PC, as well.
3. The fan has no fan silencer
Unfortunately, some fans are just loud and there’s hardly anything you can do to buffer the noise. A fan silencer is basically a rubber or foam barrier located between the fan and the PC, and it should decrease the vibrating sound.
Check if there’s anything similar in your fan and if this barrier has been damaged. If this is the case, you can easily replace it. Also, if the fan didn’t come with a fan grommet, you can purchase it separately.
4. The computer isn’t positioned properly
If the computer isn’t positioned on a flat surface, this could be what’s causing computer fan rattling. This isn’t only an issue when it comes to the functioning of the fan, but it could compromise the entire system and its elements.
It is best to keep your computer on a flat surface, as this will ensure that all its components are positioned properly. Also, if the PC is placed on an uneven surface, the fan may even fall out of place as it is rotating.
5. Heavy load on the PC tower
Don’t worry, you’re not the only person who finds the PC tower to be quite convenient when it comes to storing many items. However, as convenient as it may be, it is time to rethink this decision.
Having any kind of load on top of the PC tower could disrupt the PC fan, and cause rattling, bumping, or thudding sounds. Also, you should keep the PC tower free of any items to assure that all the internal components can function properly.
6. The CPU temperature is too high
High temperatures can definitely be the reason behind the CPU fan making a rattling noise. Not only is this incredibly annoying, but it can also be quite dangerous, as high temperatures can seriously jeopardize the entire system.
You can easily check the CPU temperature in your BIOS and find out if it is causing the CPU fan to make these loud noises.
7. You have too many resource-heavy programs
The rattling sound of your fan doesn’t have to come from a defect, blockage, or mechanical issue. Often, it can be a problem with the system, when the computer is overworked and overheated.
This is bound to happen if you use too many resource-heavy programs, whether in the foreground or the background – and especially if you use many of them at the same time.
8. Malware and viruses
Just like the programs you use can cause havoc in your system, so can viruses or malware. As you already may know, these threats can compromise the entire system, taking up a lot of storage space and processor capacity.
In this case, the sound you’re hearing is the sound of an overheated computer, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the computer placement, the components, or the fan itself.
9. The fan speed is set too high
If you’ve customized the fan settings, it may be that the fan speed is set too high and the fan is overworked, which is causing this rattling sound.
In this case, it is necessary to restore default settings or find an appropriate speed so that the fan isn’t overworked.
10. Something is blocking the vents
For the fan to function properly without overheating, it is necessary to provide breathability, which means that nothing should be blocking the vents.
If you want to ensure that the vents are free of any blockages, make sure to remove any items you may find in the ventilation grills.
Also, it could be that the PC tower is placed tightly against a surface (usually a wall), which leaves no room for the vents to function properly. Try moving it a bit to create free airflow, removing any obstacles in the way.
11. The fan is defective
In some cases, you haven’t messed up the settings, and there are no loose components in the fan – it is simply time to repair or replace your fan as it is defective.
If none of the above-mentioned causes seem to be the matter, the problem may lie in the fan itself.
How to stop a computer fan from rattling?
Depending on what’s causing it, there are different ways to stop a fan from rattling. As we’ve explained, the noise it makes isn’t the only concern, as it could indicate a much bigger internal issue.
Luckily, most of these problems can be solved easily, so let’s get into the methods and techniques you can use to stop the rattling sound permanently.
1. Clean the fan
Let’s start with opening up the fan by removing the chassis. Inspect the inside of the fan and look for any dirt buildup. Even if there’s no visible blockage, you should still clean the fan thoroughly.
You can use a duster, electric air duster, or a handheld vacuum to get rid of all the dirt accumulated inside the fan. Make sure to wipe the surface clean after vacuuming or dusting, using a lint-free cloth.
It is also recommended to clean the fan regularly to avoid debris and dust buildup.
2. Look for any loose components
Once you open up the fan to clean it, it is also recommended to look for any loose components – especially small ones, such as screws.
It is necessary to remove any blockages, as they could seriously damage the fan, in addition to making that loud thudding noise.
Also, make sure the components are properly connected and the fan is adequately mounted. It is best to consult the manual at this point, as every fan is different and there are no universal solutions.
3. Purchase a fan silencer
In case your fan didn’t come with a silencer, or it has been damaged at some point, you can purchase a replacement.
A fan silencer will not only buffer the rattling sounds but also act as a protective barrier.
4. Place the computer onto a flat surface
You want to keep your PC tower, as well as the laptop, on a flat surface – and not just to avoid the fan making rattling sounds.
When you think about it, uneven surfaces could compromise the functionality of many components, not just the fan.
5. Remove all items from the PC tower
Keeping any kind of item on top of the PC tower may be causing the loud noises coming from the computer, but also interfering with the fan’s spinning mechanism.
6. Check the CPU temperature
To check the CPU temperature in BIOS, go to Start menu>System Settings>Update&Security>Recovery>Restart Now.
Once a blue window opens, there will be a Choose an Option menu where you should choose Troubleshoot, and then Advanced Options.
Click on the Restart button, and the computer will open up the BIOS menu after rebooting. In this menu, choose Status, PC Health, or H/W monitor (different BIOS models will label this option differently).
Now you should be able to see the CPU temperature, which shouldn’t go above 80°C when the system is active. However, you should consult the manual to find the ideal temperature for your system.
7. Remove any resource-heavy program
As we’ve mentioned, your computer may be overworked and overheated due to some overbearing programs that are compromising the ventilation system.
The best way to approach this issue is by getting rid of the apps you don’t use, especially the ones you’ve noticed cause your computer to overheat.
Also, it could be that you’ve opened too many tabs on your browser which makes the system unresponsive.
By right-clicking on your taskbar, you can open the Task Manager and find a list of all the programs that are currently active. Go to the CPU section to check whether some of them have a very high percentage of usage level.
Select the programs with the highest percentage and choose End Task to stop them. You can also uninstall unwanted programs by going to the Start menu>Control Panel>Programs>Programs and Features.
Simply select the programs you want to delete and choose Uninstall.
8. Remove malware
To remove malware and viruses that could jeopardize the entire system and cause overheating, launch your antivirus program and run a scan.
Once the scan is complete, you can remove any malicious files, browser extensions, and infected programs.
9. Adjust fan speed settings
To check whether this is the issue behind the rattling sound the PC fan makes, go to the BIOS menu (the same way we’ve explained above, in the Check the CPU temperature section), and choose Monitor, Status, or PC Health (depending on the model).
Now choose Fan Speed Control, find RPM settings, and adjust the fan speed settings according to the manual.
10. Allow the computer to breathe
In case you’ve been keeping the PC tower too close to a surface, try creating some space and allowing the ventilation system to function properly.
This kind of blockage could easily be what’s causing the fan to make that loud rattling noise.
11. Replace the fan
Finally, if none of the above-mentioned methods seem to work and the sound just won’t go away, the fan is probably defective – especially if you’ve had it for a long time.
In this case, it would be best to have a professional take a look and have it repaired if possible. If not, the only solution left is to invest in a new fan.