This morning I turned on my 2013 Kia Rio without realising snow had gotten into my engine bay and my radiator fan got stuck with it. After I noticed a burnt plastic smell I inmediately turned off the car and went to check on the fan motor, got rid of any snow in the fan, and started the car again to see if it worked.

The fan actually turned on (though maybe slower than normal? This car model has two speeds so it could have been the slow one as the car was idling) and seemed to work without the burnt smell.

Is there a chance I could have broken it? What can I do to test it further and know for sure I have or not to change it.


1 Answer 1


Who knows for sure, but usually if the motor is stopped while the power is still on, heat will build up (energy has to go somewhere). This is where you caught the smell from. Since you removed the snow and it now seems to be working, I'd suggest it's going to work. You may have shortened the fan's life by some, but by "how much" nobody could tell you.

Sounds like you did what you could and it's still working, so take it for what it's worth. I'd not worry about it too much, but you might want to keep an eye on it to make sure it's working okay going forward. I'd do that maybe once a day for a couple of weeks, then if it's still running, call it good (for now).

  • 2
    I don't know anything about Kia models, but I'm surprised your fan is running at all if the weather was cold enough for snow. (The OP's profile says "Spain" and there has been a recent "50-year weather event" storm there which presumably caused the problem.) Check the coolant level and whether you have enough antifreeze. The fan might have come on because the cooling system was partially frozen.
    – alephzero
    Commented Jan 12, 2021 at 22:35
  • I actually saw smoke coming out of the motor, that's why I so scared. I'll check tomorrow doing a little test drive to see how it behaves. Thanks for your answers. About the coolant level, I checked and it's in a good level, I think it turned on because I turned the AC on and the engine was already starting to get close to operating temperature.
    – kartzs96
    Commented Jan 12, 2021 at 23:35
  • 2
    @alephzero - If the AC was running in support of the windshield defroster, the fan will come on automatically. Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 0:59

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