Q: Can I remove the fan shroud on my cooling fan?

A: It might seem like it’s just in the way, but the fan shroud plays an important role in the cooling system. Removing the shroud is not recommended. In fact, if you don’t have one or yours is damaged, you shoud:

Why is the fan shroud important?

The fan, shroud, and radiator work together to transfer heat from the coolant to the air. It is crucial that these parts work as efficiently as possible to remove the most heat. If not, an overheated engine can result.

The fan shroud makes the fan more efficient. Without it, air is deflected off the fan blades in every direction. This wastes energy. The shroud focuses the airflow through the radiator and across the engine to maximize cooling.

The shroud also acts like a funnel, pulling air through the entire radiator. Without a shroud, the fan only pulls a column of air equal to its surface area. This means the area of the radiator that is not covered by the fan is wasted.

As an example, let’s say the radiator core is 20 in. x 18.5 in. and we are using a 17-in. fan.

  • Fan surface area = 227 in.2
    • 3.14 x 8.5 in. 2
  • Radiator surface area = 370 in.2
    • 20 in. x 18.5 in.

Without a shroud, that’s a waste of 143 square inches (38 percent) of the cooling capacity. A properly fitting fan shroud ensures that 100 percent of the radiator is being used.

As an added benefit, the shroud also protects you, the fan, and the radiator.

The shroud keeps road debris from hitting the fan and radiator. It can also stop you from accidentally bumping the moving fan while working on the car.


close up of a mechanical clutch fan and shroud installed
(Image/Jim Smart)

This is another in a series of weekly Q&A Mailbag sessions with Summit Racing‘s tech department, in which there are hundreds more. Click here to see them all.