Why is my Laptop Fan making Grinding Noise | Causes & Solutions

Why is my Laptop Fan making Grinding Noise

When it comes to getting some work done in the surroundings and conditions of your choosing, you cannot possibly beat up your laptop for not giving you its best. Heat buildup is not an issue to be overlooked, and depending on the circumstances, it can come off as highly frustrating. Thanks to the cramped space inside along with the high-capacity batteries, heating is one of the main shortcomings to be wary of. There are plenty of laptops available in the market with best cooling systems that works well for cooling down the laptop, still those cooling system would require regular maintenance otherwise you would experience loud noises and regular heating of laptops.

Once your laptop starts heating up exponentially, the fans inside start to struggle. But why is your laptop fan making grinding noise anyway? Let’s understand what exactly is going 

Reasons for Laptop Fan making Grinding Noise 

Be it laptops, touchscreen hybrids, or any other devices of a similar nature and purpose, they are usually shipped with fans for the sole reason of dissipating heat by circulating air. Oftentimes, when your fans fire up, it means they are supposed to circulate air and reduce the heat. However, that doesn’t take away from the distracting and frustrating nature of the sound, especially at times when it can be surprisingly loud. No one wants their laptop making buzzing noises while they are trying to get some work done.

If the environment itself is hot, your laptop will reciprocate the same, since it will be working harder to dissipate heat. This will lead to more noise. Also, if your laptop’s vents are obstructed by soft surfaces, it can get hot and lead to loud fan noises. Alternatively, playing a 3D game, using WebGL, or even rendering a video can also lead to heat build-up and subsequent loud fan noises trying to dissipate the heat. Lastly, if you see the fans sounding normal but still running constantly, it might not be the fault of your fan per se.

Solved: Laptop Fan Making Buzzing Noise 

There are a few methods you can try by yourself to see if it brings down the laptop fan noises. One of the easiest ways to fix laptop fans making grinding noise on Apple products is to reset the SMC. There are a few other ways that are super effective as well. Read on to know more:

Resetting System Management Controller 

Mac users encountering constant fan noise are advised to reset the SMC (system management controller). For those who don’t know, the SMC is responsible for all kinds of everyday management, and sure enough, out-of-control fans are one of the classic symptoms of a problem. 

Note: There’s no need to reset SMC on a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, and Mac Mini that are powered by Apple Silicon. Why? Mostly because you cannot, due to its eliminated SMC.

However, to reset the SMC on a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air with an Apple T2 Security Chip (2018 to 2020 models):

  • Shut down the Mac.
  • Long press and hold the power button for some 10 seconds, and then restart.
  • If it still makes noise, turn it off completely.
  • Long press and hold right Shift, left Option and left Control for 7 seconds.
  • Keep the keys pressed as you press and hold the Power button for 7 seconds.
  • Release all keys and wait a while. 
  • Restart your MacBook.

Reset the SMC on a MacBook with non-removable batteries (pre-2018) by following these steps:

  • Shut down the Mac.
  • Long press and hold Shift + Control + Option on the left side of the keyboard. Now, press and hold Power (or Touch ID) along with it.
  • Hold all keys down for some 10 seconds.
  • Release all keys and turn on the MacBook.

If you want to reset the SMC on an older MacBook with a removable battery (pre-2015), follow these steps:

  • Shut down the Mac.
  • Remove the battery.
  • Long press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.
  • Reconnect the battery and then turn on the MacBook.

Cleaning the Laptop 

If you own a desktop computer, you could already be in the habit of carrying it out into the yard every few months and blowing the dust out of its case. Similarly, with laptops, you have to clean them periodically, albeit at a much smaller scale. Make sure you blow out your laptop at least twice a year to ensure its proper, quiet functionality.

How to Clean a Laptop Fan? 

Unplug the laptop from all power sources, save all files and turn off the laptop. Finally, unplug it and take off the battery for good measure. Try to dislodge the dud without opening the case. Then make good use of dry cotton swabs to clear the vent grid. A can of compressed air can get the dust off the laptop’s internal fans. Power up the laptop once again and check if the noise persists.

If this does not work, open it up and clean it thoroughly from within. Consult the laptop manual for cleaning instructions, if any. Watch videos of how people have been cleaning laptops like your own. However, make sure you do not undertake the project unless you are sure of what you are doing. Getting to the CPU fan is harder than it seems, and is best relegated to a technician. 

Close Unnecessary Processes Running on The Laptop 

Whether you discover any malware on your laptop or not, your computer’s resources could still be overexpanded since your laptop can only run so many processes at a time. Always ensure your CPU processor is not expending too much effort to keep the machine working. 

Here is a way to check your CPU: hit Control + Alt + Delete to access the Task Manager. For Mac, the Activity Monitor serves the same purpose. You can see all the apps and background processes that are currently running. You will notice the CPU activity laid out in percentages, and it will help you gauge exactly which application is taking up a lot of processing power. Usually, it happens to be a third-party software of the browser. If you want to put a halt to your laptop fan making a grinding noise, this is the way out.

Using Cooling Fans

Laptop coolers are often innocuous-looking plates of metal with base fans, designed to maximize already available airflow. You might even find some with LEDs nowadays, with variable temperature sensors, wind speeds, and in-built USB hubs.

Cooling fans of these cooling pads are ideal if you use your laptop on desks or other similar static positions. They are especially compelling for those who play demanding 3D games, render videos, or put their system under load for long periods. But note that external coolers are not permanent solutions for a hot and noisy laptop.


Frustrated with your laptop fan making a grinding noise? These aforementioned ways might be great to fix the issue promptly. If none of these seem to work and you still hear the grinding noise from your laptop, check if the fans are working at all or not. Try taking the laptop to a technician for a check-up to see if it is a motherboard-related issue. If it costs a lot to repair the issue, it’s better to go for a replacement altogether. Good luck!

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