Question Can you lubricate a laptop fan without taking it apart?

ShangWang

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View: https://imgur.com/a/XRfQzJw


I've already used compressed air to thoroughly clean out my fans, but I am hearing a very slight high pitched noise at infrequent intervals when they go up to 4500 RPM when playing games.

If I wanted to lubricate a fan that is making noise/possibly failing and wanted to extend it's life, would WD-40 work? What about vegetable oil?

Where exactly would I put the lube without taking apart the fan, and if I cannot where exactly do I add the lubricant? What part of the fan would actually be making the high pitched noise if it's clean?
 

USAFRet

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  1. No. You can't get to where the 'lube' would need to go.
  2. In all my years of working with PCs, hundreds of fans and cumulative millions of hours running time....the number of fans I've had to 'relube' is exactly zero.
A fan at 4500RPM is going to be a little bit noisy. Period.


WD-40 is the exact wrong thing to use.
 
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ShangWang

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  1. No. You can't get to where the 'lube' would need to go.
  2. In all my years of working with PCs, hundreds of fans and cumulative millions of hours running time....the number of fans I've had to 'relube' is exactly zero.
A fan at 4500RPM is going to be a little bit noisy. Period.


WD-40 is the exact wrong thing to use.
Thank you, but if I were to use a lubricant what would I use? What about vegetable oil?
 

USAFRet

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Thank you, but if I were to use a lubricant what would I use? What about vegetable oil?
Oh my, no.

If a fan is making new noises, that means there is now too much clearance between the shaft and bearing. Any new 'lube' is a temp fix at best.

And vegetable oil? Just....no.


It may just be that this particular fan is noisy at that RPM.
Laptops are generally pretty bad at cooling. Hence faster RPM, leading to more noise from the fan.
 
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ShangWang

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Oh my, no.

If a fan is making new noises, that means there is now too much clearance between the shaft and bearing. Any new 'lube' is a temp fix at best.

And vegetable oil? Just....no.


It may just be that this particular fan is noisy at that RPM.
Laptops are generally pretty bad at cooling. Hence faster RPM, leading to more noise from the fan.
I see, it happens at random but I've never noticed the slight noise until now. Based on what you said it's probably extra space caused by fan wear/dust accumulated from the past. Just curious though what would be a good lube?
 

Paperdoc

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USAF is exactly right. The answer you obviously do NOT want to hear is: do NOT try to put ANY lube into the fan. You can NOT get it where the bearings are, and you CAN foul up the rest of the fan so badly it fails. The is no way to disassemble such a fan and put it back together so it works!

Tolerate the sound until you decide to REPLACE the fan(s) if the noise becomes persistent and at low speeds.
 
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USAFRet

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Yep.
Noisy fans are a physical problem, not a "lack of lube" problem.

Most inexpensive fans today are impregnated bronze bushings.
That is, a bronze surround with a steel shaft spinning in it.
The bronze has the oil impregnated in it. Introducing any other oil will almost certainly interact with the existing lube, and either make it too thick or too thin.

The noise comes from either:
There is too much clearance...it has worn too much. It is vibrating.
or
It is running faster than usual, trying to keep up with the generated heat. Too much dust is often the cause.
 
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ShangWang

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Yep.
Noisy fans are a physical problem, not a "lack of lube" problem.

Most inexpensive fans today are impregnated bronze bushings.
That is, a bronze surround with a steel shaft spinning in it.
The bronze has the oil impregnated in it. Introducing any other oil will almost certainly interact with the existing lube, and either make it too thick or too thin.

The noise comes from either:
There is too much clearance...it has worn too much. It is vibrating.
or
It is running faster than usual, trying to keep up with the generated heat. Too much dust is often the cause.
Thank you again, I often have to disconnect the PSU just to be safe when working with the internals. Do you think disconnecting and reconnecting the PSU often has anything to do with initial fast fan speed noise or is that irrelevant? What about how long the fan has been running at lower speeds in general?
 

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