The blower motor is responsible for bringing in filtered air from the outside into the car. The main purpose of the blower motor is to keep the inside of the car ventilated. A failed blower motor definitely requires a replacement. The blower motor replacement cost depends on many factors and price will vary depending on those factors.
A car usually has multiple blower motors located in different places. It’s located inside the dash, often on the opposite side of the steering wheel or inside the engine compartment on the firewall. The speed of the airflow of the blower can be adjusted according to the user’s needs.
The blower motor is an important part of your vehicle’s air conditioning and heating system. It allows you to control the temperature inside the cabin. Yes, you can survive without a heater during winter or manage without the AC during the hot summer days, having optimal temperature inside the cabin is definitely an advantage.
What Is A Blower Motor?
The motor that runs the fan in the heating and air conditioning system in a car is called a blower motor. The blower motor is located inside the dash often opposite the steering wheel. In older cars, it is located inside the engine compartment on the firewall. There are, however, different locations for the heater core and evaporator. Either way, the blower motor is fitted close to both the heater core and the evaporator, so it is easily accessible.
A blower motor can operate at different speeds. This variability allows controlling the temperature inside the cabin.
How Does A Blower Motor Work?
The blower motor relay is what controls the airflow through the blower motor. This blower motor relay cuts on the blower to release the cold air into the cabin of the car. When the air conditioner is turned on, the blower relay is activated. When the blower relay is activated, it sends the power needed to operate the blower fan.
The temperature is controlled by the heater core and the evaporator. The air passes through either the heater core or the evaporator until it reaches the required temperature. After it reaches that temperature, then it is allowed to circulate through the cabin, through the blower motor.
The blower motor’s speed is controlled by 2 different methods. A blower motor resistor or a blower motor control module is the part that controls the speed of the blower motor. A blower motor resistor is a simple electric resistor. This is used in cars with just 4 or 5-speed settings available.
This method uses different coils with different thicknesses, which allows producing different amounts of resistance. While 12V is allowed to go into the blower motor the resistance will decrease the voltage that reaches the blower motor which slows it down. To summarize, the thicker wires have higher resistance so slower speeds, and the thinner wires have lower resistance so you will get higher speeds on your blower motor.
The second method is used in many modern cars. It is called the automatic climate control system. This allows the blower motor speed to be gradually increased. This is equipped with an electronic blower motor control module.
The blower motor resistor or the blower motor control module is installed inside one of the ducts in the HVAC system, close to the blower motor. This is to keep the blower motor resistor or the blower motor control module cool.
Signs That Your Blower Motor Is Failing
There are a few symptoms that a blower motor will exhibit before failing. Knowing how to diagnose these symptoms will always come in handy. If you can successfully diagnose these symptoms to a failing blower motor, that way you can prep for blower motor replacement cost. Here are some of the most common symptoms that you will encounter before your blower motor fails.
A reduction in airflow is one of the earliest symptoms of a failing blower motor. When you turn on the AC for either hot or cold air you might notice the airflow from the vents is weak. Even if you crank up the speed, you won’t see any noticeable change in the airflow.
The main cause for this issue is the wearing of the blower motor. A worn blower motor will not be able to provide adequate airflow to keep the cabin temperature constant. This will lead to noticeable cabin temperature fluctuations. This is a good indicator that your current blower motor’s time is coming to an end.
Blower Stuck At One Speed
As mentioned earlier the speed of the blower motor is controlled by either blower motor resistors or a blower motor control module. If you are unable to adjust the rate of airflow these are directly responsible for the issue. A failure with these components will leave the blower motor stuck at one speed.
Another reason for the blower motor is caused by the switch or knob that you use to control the airflow. When you turn the knob or press a button, it sends electrical signals that allow controlling the speed. With faulty wiring or if any other obstructions are not allowing the electrical signals to pass that will cause your blower motor to remain stuck at one speed as well.
You will still be able to use the AC or the heater. But you won’t be able to control the airflow. This will obviously mess with the cabin temperature. You will not be able to get the exact temperature you want.
In this case, you do not have to think about the blower motor replacement cost immediately. The primary cause for the blower motor being stuck at one speed is caused due to electrical malfunctions. More often than not electrical problems can be repaired easily. Because of this, if your blower motor is stuck at a certain speed you can opt for a blower motor repair cost rather than a blower motor replacement cost.
No Air From Vents
Having absolutely zero airflows can also mean that your blower motor has failed. In this case no matter the setting you will, there will be no airflow through your vents.
The resistor is responsible to send enough power that moves the air with certain pressure; however, if you are getting low or no air from the vents that means there is some problem with the blower motor resistor.
Another cause could be a failure with the wiring. A short-circuiting in the system or a burnt-out motor will also give the same result. The blower motor will usually have to be replaced in order to restore proper operation to the system.
Smoke Coming Through The Vents
We all have heard the saying “where there is smoke there is fire”. So what could be the cause for your blower motor to blow smoke at you? A burned blower motor or motor wiring can produce smoke. And this smoke will blow its way into the cabin.
If your blower motor blows smoke at you it is crucial that you stop your car immediately. Even though, your blower motor is not going to blow up your car smoke inside your cabin is never good. The main reason to stop is to find out the source of the smoke.
Even if the smoke is coming through the vents, there is no guarantee it is caused due to the blower motor. Even if the smoke is generated from the engine or transmission, if it finds its way into the airflow path it will enter through the vents. Other than the smoke you should also be alarmed by burning smells.
If you find a blown fuse in the blower motor circuit, that’s a clue that the circuit became overloaded. Also, try to find out if the amount of smoke generated or the smell intensifies when you crank up the speed of the blower motor. If you notice any change after doing so, then the cause is probably the blower motor. If not you try to find out the source before you continue driving.
Blower Motor Replacement
When your blower motor is worn or damaged you will need to get your blower motor replaced. Or if your blower motor suffers connection issues or problems with the resistor you could opt to go for replacement rather than a repair.
It is hard to pinpoint exactly where the problem is when your blower motor is failing. Any component failing in the heating and cooling system will result in a blower motor failure. Your mechanic will have to get in there and inspect it. Only then he can do a proper diagnosis and give you the bad news.
The blower motor replacement cost will vary with the model and brand of your car. Another factor that dictates the blower motor replacement cost is the extent of the damage.
Process Of Replacing A Blower Motor
The process starts with diagnosing the blower motor. That way the mechanic can find out if any other components are damaged. Replacing a blower motor is fairly simple. For an experienced professional it is only going to take a few minutes. If the process is so simple why does it cost so much?
The difficulty of the replacement again depends on the same 2 factors as many others. The model of your car and the extent of the damage to your cooling system.
For example sometimes if the secondary damage is high it will lead to fluid leaks. In similar cases, the damage would require a lot of labor to repair. So if the damage is widespread it will require a lot of work and will cost a lot of money.
The blower motor of some cars is fairly easy to access. In some models, you can just pop the hood and have enough access to completely replace the unit. While other models would require a much tedious procedure to gain access. You would have to remove the steering column and the windshield to access the unit.
If this were the case removing all the parts, replacing the blower motor, and putting everything back together will add up to a very large bill.
Blower Motor Replacement Cost
Replacing a blower motor with the classic resistor block style is cheaper than replacing a blower motor with the newer computer-controlled resistors. And the common point of failure in a blower motor is the resistor. The fan can fail, but it is unlikely. The only reason for the fan to need a replacement is either wear or damage. Even if you need the fan replaced it is not that expensive.
In most cars, the blower motor is fairly easy to access. If you own such a model, the blower motor replacement cost is not going to be extraordinary.
Since the majority of the repairs regarding the blower motor replacement are based on the blower motor resistor, let us look at the cost to replace the resistor.
When looking at the cost to replace a blower motor you need to look at the cost in 2 different criteria. One is the parts and the second is the labor. And before getting into the blower motor replacement the mechanic will need to perform a thorough diagnosis. This is going to cost a few bucks as well.
In the US the labor cost varies from place to place. For most garages in the US, labor costs are between $70 and $160. It averages around $90 per hour. When it comes to labor, the time required changes from model to model.
For example, for a Ford F-150, the total time that is taken to disassemble and replace the blower motor will not take more than half an hour. The reason for this is that the blower motor is easily accessible. So in this case, the labor will not cost you more than $50.
On the contrary, a car like an Audi A6 is much costlier in the labor department. The reason for this is that accessing the unit is much harder compared to the Ford F-150. The complete procedure for the Audi A6 which includes disassembling, replacement, and reassembling it would take anywhere from 1.5 hours to 2 hours. So the labor can cost up to $200.
Most cars make their blower motors easily accessible. It is rare that a car would require extensive labor for a blower motor replacement.
But that is the Toyota Corolla, in reality, most other cars cost relatively higher. The price of a blower motor resistor spans from $25 to upwards of $100. Usually, it lies somewhere in the center of that range.
If your car uses a computer-controlled module you would end up paying more. This is due to the sensitive electrical components. The price of a computer-controlled module is often over $150. It can rise up to $250.
Other than the main component you would require wires and other components to connect it to your car. Though it doesn’t cost much, it is worth noting.
The diagnosis is the first thing that any mechanic would do once you submit a car for repair. The method and the procedure of the diagnosis vary due to the model of the car and the type of speed control system for your blower motor.
Either way, the time for diagnosis doesn’t take long. In most cars, an experienced professional will be able to complete the diagnosis within half an hour. At most, it could take an hour.
The cost for the diagnosis is the same as the labor charges. An average mechanic will charge you $90 an hour. Therefore the cost for the diagnosis will be close to $50 to $100.
Total Blower Motor Replacement Cost
The diagnosis, labor, and the cost for parts will add up to the total cost. Buy now you must understand there is no way to give an exact amount for a blower motor replacement.
Considering all the above the blower motor replacement cost could be as cheap as $140. That is the lower end, but it could get as high as $600. The cost range for a blower motor replacement is wide. But the average blower motor replacement cost should give you a general idea.
The average cost for a blower motor replacement lies between $310 to $325. Using this value you should be able to hunt for a fair deal if you are getting your blower motor replaced.
Even if you are only going to replace the blower motor and not your resistor the cost will not vary to a large extent. The price of a blower motor and a resistor is almost the same. A blower motor costs between $50 to $150.
The procedure of replacing the blower motor is similar to the process of replacing a resistor. So the labor costs and the price for the diagnosis will not change. Looking at the cost for the blower motor it will again add up to the same amount.
Importance Of A Functioning Blower Motor
Do you need a blower motor for your car? No, you are not going to die if you do not have a blower motor. But having one could make your life much easier.
You will be able to enjoy warm air during the colder parts of the year. You can stay nice and cozy when the weather is nippy out, making your car a comfortable place to be.
And the blower motor will increase the airflow inside the cabin. Proper ventilation will make a good environment to be in. Without a blower motor, if you are forced to close the windows due to harsh weather conditions or maybe due to the unbearable fumes in cities these days, it will feel like being in a coffin. You will not have enough air circulation. In scenarios like this, a blower motor will prove to be a huge difference.
Replacing your blower motor will give you better airflow because it will be able to push more air. So if your blower motor is failing, paying the price to get it repaired or replaced will certainly be worth it.
Is It Possible To Change A Blower Motor Yourself?
If you can access the blower motor by popping the hood, then yes, you certainly can. It is going to take some common tools and you would need to allocate some time for the project.
But what if you can’t see the blower motor when the hood is open? You still can get the job done yourself, but the process is much more tedious and risky. Removing other parts of the body is easy, the catch is putting it all back together. If you have done this sort of thing before, it won’t be much of an issue. If you are confident in your abilities, it is fine to take a swing at it.
To replace a blower motor you do not need any costly or special equipment. A flat head screwdriver, ratchet and socket set, cabin air filter, a new blower motor, and the service manual is more than enough to undertake the task. A flashlight will also come in handy as you would have to peek into many nooks and crannies. If you have all these you can easily save over $100 by spending a bit of your own sweat.
Blower Motor Replacement Cost – Verdict
Though you can continue to drive without a blower motor, having on is the difference between a joyous car ride and an uncomfortable one.
It is hard to put an exact number for the cost of a blower motor replacement. Having the average cost at $300 to $325 should give you a vague idea of how much you’d need to allocate. If your blower motor is not working it is either a, worn or broken fan or an issue with the resistor. Either way, the repair or replacement cost will not differ enormously.
If you want to challenge yourself or test out your skillset, you can always save a few bucks and go through with a DIY job to replace your blower motor.
These tools have been tried and tested by our team, they are ideal for fixing your car at home.