I know I need it, but I’m going to get a new car in a couple of months, and I just really need something to get me to work and to school, which is only about 15 min drives. My car sounds the same, and everything sounds fine, but when I was replacing the AC Condenser, I just noticed that they weren’t running. So can I make by for the next couple of months since it’s gonna be cold outside? I have a 2000 Toyota Celica.

  • 3
    You could probably get by with out them in emergancy as long as you stay moving. If you sit idle or stuck in traffic you will start to overheat.
    – narkeleptk
    Dec 10, 2019 at 20:24
  • 1
    Were your fans not running after the vehicle had been warmed up and the temperatures stabilized? It's not unusual for the fans of many vehicle to be thermostatically controlled and only engage when temperatures require. If your fans fail to operate at temperature, you will overheat eventually, even if only stopped for a traffic signal. I have had a fan failure in a motor vehicle and "saved the day" enough to get home by running the cabin heater at maximum.
    – fred_dot_u
    Dec 10, 2019 at 21:06
  • The fans just didn’t run after being idle and the temperature on my car was about half way? Dec 11, 2019 at 2:39
  • What was the outside temperature when you noticed the fans weren't running? How long had the car been idling? Dec 11, 2019 at 15:22
  • Be careful testing fans - you don't want the thermostat to turn them on when you're poking around. They can take a long time to come on if just sitting idling on a cold day, even more so with the bonnet open allowing more airflow over everything
    – Chris H
    Dec 11, 2019 at 16:43

2 Answers 2


Most newer cars have thermostatically controlled fans. Which means fans start spinning when certain temperature is reached. To test them out just run your car at idle and wait for your car to hit over 90 degrees Celsius, keep in mind some fans start when the temperate hit 100+ degrees Celsius. To answer the question, yes, most likely you will be fine without a fan running. However you might overheat if stuck at traffic or idle for a while.

  • That's a good observation. The fans may have been operational all the time but not spinning during the OP's tests of the new A/C.
    – user16128
    Dec 13, 2019 at 10:18

Not sure where you live, but in my area (Finland, Helsinki) only the three summer months generally require cooling fans. If the daily mean temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius and the daily high temperature is below 15 degrees Celsius, most likely you are fine without the fans. Of course using the air conditioning would increase the heat load on the cooling system, but then again do you need air conditioning unless it's hot?

In fact, unless it's so hot that you use air conditioning for other purposes than dehumidifying, you probably are fine without the radiator fans.

I have never owned a car that would rotate the cooling fans on other months than the three summer months in my area. So it could be that your fans are working but it wasn't hot enough for them to turn on. Fans are required only when it's hot and when the car is idling at standstill (or moving very slowly) and when the idling period is so long that the temperature limit is exceeded.

However, it is worth mentioning that excessive idling at standstill could change the game depending on the type of winter in your area. Then air is not moving and the cooling fans might be needed. That would require a major traffic jam or deliberate idling because even two cycles of usual traffic lights aren't so long that overheating would be possible at traffic lights.

Also unless the car is left idling unattended, the driver most likely will see from the temperature gauge if it overheats. So keep an eye on the gauge and you'll be fine.

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