I'm looking for someone to validate or disprove my opinion. Here is a video of the issue. https://www.dropbox.com/s/fjs8xtu0v9ikuov/IMG_3947.MOV?dl=0

The prior owner was a smoker and used in-vent air freshers. The blower motor was not making this sound until after I had the car for some time. I think I went over a bump one day and it started making noise. https://cdna.4imprint.com/prod/extras/100300/330264/700/1.jpg

My thought is one of these had fallen into the vent and the bump jostled it into the blower motor. Does this sound probable?


The squirrel cage has broken fin(s), or the motor bearing has gone (most likely on a '99), or the case has distorted -- all of which allow the unit to vibrate or slightly rub on a part of the case.

If you remove the glovebox and plastic the kick panel underneath it, you can press various places on the housing and case to see if the noise changes... if it does, it's a good indication you need a new blower motor.

It's not an expensive or technically hard job, but hopefully you're young and agile, or have had some contortionist training. I haven't, and I'm old...

The only other possibility is something loose, or the Cabin Air Filter is shot and loose (you may not have that option), but I strongly suspect you need a new blower. They come with the motor and squirrel cage fan as an assembly.

I doubt it's a broken air-freshener bit, because that noise wouldn't persist long... although it could break the plastic fan. Whatever the case, the repair is identical, and you'll know if you need a new blower assembly when you take it apart. I can't validate or disprove your opinion.

  • Thanks! I ordered a new blower assembly for $40 and will give it a try. – emican Jun 12 '16 at 19:48
  • @user14218 Check for mouse nests and stuff too. They love building nests in squirrel cage – Ben Jun 12 '16 at 20:30
  • @B Mice in a squirrel cage? cute. @user14218 Seriously though, wear gloves and maybe a dust mask, when you drop that thing it may be full of 16 years of leaves, sticks, mice ... "stuff", pine needles, dirt, fungus, hair... in various stages of decomposition. See if your owner's manual describes a "cabin air filter" -- saves you some of the nastiness of the job. If you have one you'll want to replace it. $10-$15 tops. Use a shop vacuum to get it all out. If you own a small intelligent child that is somewhat handy and can follow directions, this is the perfect tool to use. Save your back – SteveRacer Jun 12 '16 at 22:29
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    @steveracer It was insulation?! I think the insulation took a toll on the fan bearings. New fan is in and working well, thanks for the help! I'll probably do the cabin air filter next paycheck. dropbox.com/s/kz1mjwzk7rykoxk/IMG_4312.JPG – emican Jun 14 '16 at 19:01
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    @user14218 Mice. You'll probably find a hole in your cabin air filter as well if you have one. – Ben Jun 14 '16 at 21:34

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