PC Fan Making Rattling and Grinding Noise – Causes and Solutions

Building a PC and maintaining it without having any troubles is quite an achievement since most people will have to deal with some sort of issue at least once in a while.

One of the most common issues people find themselves dealing with is PC fans making noises like a jet engine about to take off.

arctic bionix p12 case fan

If you bought a bunch of good PC case fans (probably a good idea to buy a fan controller too for enough connectors) you should have no such issues but in case you do, there are a couple of things you can check before finally buying replacement fans.

PC Fan Making Rattling Noise – Causes

There are many things that can be causing your pc fans to make grinding noises but here are some of the most common issues:

  1. Dust buildup that needs to be cleaned – having a lot of dust on the blades of the fan ruins the flow of air that the fan is intended to produce therefore causing more noises when operating.
  2. Loose screws or bad mounting holes for your fans – if you have not mounted your fans properly and they are loose they will rattle during operation.
  3. Uneven case surface – if your case surface where you mount your fans is uneven it can cause your fans to struggle when operating creating extra noise. This can be both fan blade noise or motor noise.
  4. PC fans can be making noises in certain RPM ranges (like the Arctic P12s in this video) – there are certain RPM ranges that certain fan motors simply do not like therefore the operation creates more noise.
  5. Running your PC fans on full blast – sometimes what people perceive as their pc fans making noise is just their normal operating sound on high-speed RPM. There is no defection there, just normal motor and fan blade sounds.
  6. The bearings or the motors inside are defective – obviously, PC fans also make grinding noises when they are simply failing. These sounds can vary depending on the specific failure.

PC Fan Making Rattling Noise – Solutions

Knowing the causes of PC fans making noises you can obviously take care of the issues and make your fans run better again.

  1. Clean your fans and case from dust. Dust buildup will cause your temperatures to be higher and also as mentioned before it can impede the proper work of your fans.
  2. When mounting your PC fans make sure they are properly screwed in and stable. An unstable fan will make a lot of rattling noises as it operates.
  3. Make sure that you are buying a high-quality PC case because if your case has dents or uneven surfaces this will make the silent operation of your fans impossible (also it might be impossible to even mount your fans).
  4. Check online if your fans have any quirks like certain RPM ranges where they are simply noisier. Sometimes running the fans higher or lower from the current range can lead to your fans making no more noise.
  5. Running your fans on 100% speed is good for cooling but you will definitely have a lot more noise during operation. This noise is normal since you are running max RPMs on your fans and they push a lot of air. If you want less noise simply lower the fan curve or even invest in silent PC case fans that will operate will lower noise level even at high RPM.
  6. Sometimes PC fans making grinding noises is simply a sign that they are slowly dying. This is normal as any moving part in your PC is bound to fail. Usually changing fans is a rather inexpensive process so you should not worry too much about it. Just identify and remove the fan that is making unwanted noise and install a new fan in its stead. Problem solved!

About The Author

Chris Bulgac

Chris is a passionate gamer, streamer and PC tech enthusiast. The PC peripheral market has a special place in his heart, as there are few enthusiast-grade products that he has not tried, and even fewer products he has not researched already. Overall, Chris is a BIG nerd and he is absolutely proud of it! Follow him on Twitch.

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