Troubleshooting a Vibrating Laptop Fan: Causes and Solutions

In terms of portability, laptops are, perhaps, the most convenient electronic device out there. However, getting things done wherever you are comes at a certain cost. In this case, your laptop overheats easily, which is why it needs cooling fans to operate properly.

While this fan has to make noise as it works to keep your laptop functional, if it vibrates so loudly it distracts you, there is probably a problem with it. Below, I’ll do a deep dive into what that problem might be and teach you how to fix it.

What Is the Function of a Laptop Fan?

As already mentioned, the main function of laptop fans is cooling the interior of the device. Without a fan, your laptop would easily overheat, as all the internal components are confined to a pretty small space.

By cooling everything down, the fan ensures optimal performance. In other words, it helps your laptop remain quick and efficient, allowing you to complete your tasks without a hitch.

Now, no matter how high-quality your laptop is, you will hear at least some noise as the fan works its magic. And the more you use the laptop, the more the fan will work and, by extension, make its presence known.

However, this noise should not be so loud it’s actually distracting. What’s more, it shouldn’t go on for hours or for however long you use your laptop.

If it does, you’re probably dealing with fan or laptop issues that require your attention. Keep reading to find out what they might be.

Common Causes of Fan Vibrations

Issue 1: Positioning

Sometimes, your laptop fan might start making a racket because the device is on an uneven surface. In such cases, the fan could start wobbling and scraping against the other internal components of the laptop.

Luckily, this issue is the easiest to fix. All you have to do is place the device on a hard, even surface. In a minute or so, the fan will resume working without too much vibrating.

But if the problem persists even after you move it, you need to keep looking for the cause elsewhere.

Issue 2: Fan Damage

Have you dropped your laptop recently or accidentally bumped it against a hard surface? If so, the noise might be directly connected to that, as the fan could be bent out of shape or otherwise damaged.

It’s important to note that this issue can occur even if you can’t see any visible damage on the laptop. After all, the issue is internal, so it doesn’t have to appear on the device’s surface at all.

Issue 3: Overheating

More often than not, your laptop fan gets loud because the device itself is overheating. This problem can occur for various reasons.

For one, the environment you’re using the laptop in might be too hot, thus causing it to heat up too much. Namely, most laptops thrive on temperatures between 32 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, if you consistently use yours somewhere that’s hotter than that, it could start overheating pretty quickly. As a result, your fan will have to work overtime, and, as it does, it will cause excess noise while trying to keep up.

Another possible reason for overheating is a blockage on the air vent. For example, the vent might be blocked by the wall behind the laptop or the surface you’re keeping it on.

If the air has nowhere to go out, the temperature won’t be able to decrease. That will, in turn, cause a lot of excess vibrating in the fan.

Next, the laptop could overheat due to dust accumulation in the fan itself. In such cases, you might also hear buzzing and rustling coming from the air vent.

Moreover, laptops can also overheat if they have to deal with more processing than they can handle. That can occur if your laptop is riddled with malware or if you consistently run too many programs at the same time.

And finally, laptops get louder (and slower) as they age. So, if your device is already more than four years old, it’s likely making noise because it’s no longer compatible with current programs.

How to Fix an Overly Vibrating Laptop Fan

Depending on the issue that led to the noise, you can fix a loud laptop fan in various ways.

Fix 1: Change Positioning

As I have already mentioned, laying your laptop on a hard and flat surface is pivotal for reducing fan vibrations. In addition, you should ensure that nothing on that surface is blocking the air vent.

So, don’t lean your laptop against the wall or put anything solid behind it. Also, if your vent is on the underside of the device, you could benefit from getting a laptop stand or pad. Some models, like this one, even come with cooling properties, so they’ll be a perfect choice for your situation.

Fix 2: Clean the Fan

As already mentioned, dust accumulation in and around the fan can lead to excess vibrating. So, your first order of business should be to get the fan nice and clean.

For starters, unplug your laptop from its power source and turn it off. Then, use dry cotton swabs and a can of compressed air to clean the vent without opening anything.

In most cases, doing this should be enough to dislodge any dust and debris in the air vent. To check whether you succeeded, power up your laptop and go about your business as usual.

If the noise persists, you’ll have to open the air vent up and clean it from the inside. But before you do anything, it’s smart to consult your laptop user manual for any tips on how to do internal cleaning.

Now, my advice is that you shouldn’t take apart anything by yourself if you aren’t savvy or you’ve never done it before. To ensure you don’t do even more damage, you should call up a professional and have them handle the cleanup for you.

Fix 3: Replace the Fan

When there is extensive damage to the fan — be it from a fall or bump — the best course of action is to replace it as a whole. That way, you’ll save both time and money in trying to fix the noise.

In this case, it’s wise to let a professional in on the replacement from the get-go. As simple as the project might seem, it is quite delicate, so you shouldn’t do it on your own if you don’t have the necessary knowledge and equipment.

Most of the time, a replacement won’t cost a lot. So, this fix is a great choice in all the ways that matter. On the one hand, you’ll have a soundless laptop. And on the other, you won’t have to spend a fortune to get it.

Fix 4: Change Your Habits

If you’re not ready to part with your laptop just yet, some small habit changes might be able to stop the overheating and fan noise.

For one, you should try to reduce the number of programs you run simultaneously. If you don’t need them at the same time, turn off what you can to make things easier on your laptop.

In addition, you can make sure your device is regularly updated. That way, it will be at its fastest, and the fan won’t cause that big of a ruckus.

Lastly, try to keep the temperature around you at a level that will benefit your laptop. In short, don’t work in overly hot places, as that will force the fan to work overtime and, in turn, make more noise.

Fix 5: Get a New Laptop

Finally, sometimes, the only solution is to bite the bullet and purchase an entirely new device. As expensive as this option sounds, it is a necessary evil you have to endure for better laptop performance.

When should you definitely invest in a new laptop? Well, it’s a good idea if your laptop is older than 5 years and an absolute must if you’ve been using it for a decade. With technology constantly evolving, older devices simply cannot keep up with new operating systems and programs.

Of course, make sure to exhaust all other options before going to buy a new device. But if you already know it’s time, make sure the laptop you opt for can accommodate your daily activities.

That is to say, you should pay close attention to the laptop’s specifications. By doing so, you will be able to get one that will have a strong enough processor for all your needs. By extension, that will mean that your fan will have less of an important role, which will keep your device quieter.

To Sum Up

If the vibrations of your laptop fan are getting too loud and distracting, there are a couple of fixes you can try. They include doing an air vent clean or changing the laptop’s position.

However, sometimes, the issue causing the loud noise requires a call to a professional. That will be the case if the fan needs cleaning or replacing. In the end, if all else fails. It might be time to get a new device altogether.

Hopefully, this guide lets you know where you stand and how you can go about making things better.

And if you’re also experiencing issues with your laptop’s charger, be sure to check out our article on that subject for troubleshooting tips and solutions.

Scroll to Top