Radiator Fans on when Heater on - Kia Forum
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#1 (permalink) Old 01-08-2011, 05:10 PM
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Talking Radiator Fans on when Heater on

Hi Everybody ! I'm new here, but have a problem with my '06 Kia Spectra. (at least I think it's a problem).

I'm from Canada and heating up is important. My Spectra does not heat up fast enough (and yes, I just replaced the thermostat).

What I observed is that the radiator cooling fans are on immediately when I turn the Heater control on. I find this odd. With all my north american vehicles the rad fans only turn on when:
a. the A/C is on,
b. the engine is at temp.

But this vehicle they come on right away but only when the heater is on.

Is this normal for this vehicle ?
If not, what do you think is broken ?

Thanks,
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#2 (permalink) Old 01-08-2011, 08:43 PM
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with heater in any position? If the outside temp is below -2C or so (some are -5, some 0) A/C should not turn on at all.

What do you mean it does not heat up fast? Elaborate... What is outside temp? How long it takes to get to operating temp? (distance and time). Do you use heater at the same time?

For example. My Rondo would reach operating temperature (+82C) after gentle driving for 3.5 miles during 8 minutes from -10C (temp from ScanGauge; city driving, but in the middle of the night, so no traffic, one stop and one traffic lights). Heater is not used at that time.

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#3 (permalink) Old 01-08-2011, 10:30 PM
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The Ambiant Temperature is -12 deg C.

It took 45 mins of idling for the thermostat to open slightly. The A/C was never used.

The radiator cooling fans were running the whole time during idle (the heater was on).

We then took the car for a 1/2 hr ride and we noticed that if we turned the heater off the vehicle would reach temperature (obviously because the rad cooling fans turned off)....and at one point we turned the heater on and the temp gauge actually dropped (ie, vehicle did not maintain temp). This is all with a new thermostat.

We are concluding that when the rad fans are running the vehicle has great difficulty reaching operating temp. And the rad fans run whenever the heater fan is on.

With my experience with North American vehicles the rad fans should never come on until the vehicle is at temp, they would of course turn on when the A/C is on (but in January in Canada this is not an issue). This Spectra's fans run whenever the heater fan/switch is on.

Help ?

Last edited by Pongo; 01-08-2011 at 10:32 PM.
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#4 (permalink) Old 01-09-2011, 01:42 PM
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Before I even begin - idling for 45 minutes is the worst thing you could ever do. Better get an engine block heater.


First of all the fans do not influence time of reaching the operating temperature. They purpose is to cool down the radiators. Period.
So with all what you said, I bet this is thermostat.

Let's perform a test.
Can you reach the radiators? I mean, to touch them. If so, let it idle for about 10 minutes with heater OFF (therefore fans are off, right?). During it, from time to time (I would say every 30 seconds) touch the upper rubber and the lower hoses to see how warm they get. Also, check the heater lines.

Heater lines should get hot very quick, but the lower should remain completely cold, while the upper one gently warm. Radiator should remain cold. If any of these gets warm too, it means thermostat.

Even, if you put a new thermostat, it does not mean it is good. It could have been broken from the very beginning.

Did you bleed the system? What is the coolant level?
And most important - do you trust the temperature gauge?


One more question, or test. Let it get to operating temperature in city driving. Then, hit the highway. Keep speed of 100 km/h for some time and see if the temperature stays same (up). Turn the heater on, does it still stay up?


As for the fans. Find a fuse for A/C and remove it. See if this solves the problem.
Did the A/C work OK during summer?

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#5 (permalink) Old 01-09-2011, 06:32 PM
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My 06 Spectra also runs the fans when the heater is on (and not in defrost mode...A/C led off) but it get plenty of heat. The thermostat keeps the engine's coolant from circulating through the radiator when cold so the fans being on is moot. Although I'd personally wish they'd cycle (needless wear and tear).I go along with PLP...I believe you have a "stuck" open thermostat you need to replace.
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