If your laptop fan starts rattling and grinding, it usually means its time for a replacement. If you're just trying to eke out the last few months of your computer's life, though, you can keep the fans working temporary with some lubrication.
We've shown you how to clean and lubricate your fans before, but one reader over at Mac OS X Hints realised that a bit of lubrication can even save a fan nearing the end of its life, at least for a little while:
When my 2007 MacBook Pro's left cooling fan started rattling really loudly last night, I thought I was in for a time-consuming repair. Every place I called had a 2 or 3 day lead time on the part and a 2-day turn-around for the repair once the part was in. The fan itself costs at least $US40, and the labour charges were at least $US60. I was irritated at the prospect of spending at least $US100 on a 4-year-old notebook that I plan to replace in like two months when the new model comes out.
I dipped a swab in some motor oil (sewing machine oil would probably be better, and soybean or canola oil might be adequate) and put a light coat on the metal spindle pin. I popped it back together and tested it. Now it's silent again, almost like new!
As we've said before, 3-in-1 household oil is probably the best to use on your fans, as opposed to motor or vegetable oil. This trick won't revive your fan completely, but if your laptop is at the end of it's life, this should help you eke a few more months out of your fans before it's time to get a new computer. If you're planning on keeping your computer around, you'll probably have to replace your fan. Hit the link to read more. Photo by edkohler.
Repair MacBook Pro Cooling Fan Rattling [Mac OS X Hints]