College Days

Rescuing My Graphics Card Fan

My graphics card nearly passed away today. I just discovered that its fan stopped spinning when I was doing a lot of Photoshop editing this morning. My computer just crashed and when I rebooted my PC, nVidia Forceware won\’t load and my computer did not recognize my graphics card as it should be; It only showed as generic graphics card. Suspiciously, I opened my desktop case and inspected the GPU fan. Darn, it was stuffed with lots of dirt, virtually drying all the lubricant present in the small dynamo preventing it from spinning free.

Below are the techniques I used to rescue my graphics card fan. You may use similar methods if you encounter the same problem with your graphics card fan:

  1. Pull out the graphics card from the motherboard and clean it using a soft brush (paint brush is fine, but not hair brush!)
  2. Using an air compressor, get rid of all the remaining dirt around the heat sink of the GPU and the fan. If you don\’t have an air compressor at home you may use canned compressed air. Alternatively you may use a vacuum cleaner set in reversed mode (FYI, there are vacuum cleaners that suck up and blow air simultaneously). You need to blow all the dusk away from the dynamo as much as possible. Practically you want to clean it first to avoid mixing dirt with your lubricant.
  3. This is optional but recommended: Use WD-40 to spray on oxidized parts of the fan. It also protects it from rusting and dissolves all the dirt clogging the fan. You can buy this from Ace hardware. Take note: don\’t spray WD-40 on the graphics card! What you need to spray on is the bearing of the fan at the center and the gunk of the blades. I also noticed that WD-40 will dry up easily as the graphics card heat up. As soon as I put the card back in my motherboard the fan gets noisy without proper lubrication.
  4. Finally, oil the bearing of the fan with some light machine oil. It will hush the fan. Put it back in the motherboard, turn on your PC and watch the fan spin again.

This is a temporary solution only but as long as it extends the life of my graphics card fan I\’m happy with it. If you are serious on replacing your graphics card fan don\’t hesitate to buy a better one. Don\’t forget to pair it with a good heat sink specially when you overclock.

graphics card, fan, WD-40

By Marck V.

Filipino IT consultant on enterprise software. On his spare time he do web project management, photography and blogging. Web 2.0 enthusiast.