My three year-old MacBook Pro recently started emitting a constant racket from its left fan (which sounds something like this). Most people will tell you you need a new fan for $50, but I decided to try to fix it instead, and so far (it's been
two weeks nine months), the repair has worked great. As any google or youtube search for "noisy macbook pro fan" produces thousands of results, I hope this saves someone fifty of their hard-earned bucks.
You'll need a couple of tools to perform this operation, but you would need these same tools to install a replacement fan as well, so you're still saving fifty bucks (or more, if you were going to take it in to be repaired). They should total up to less than $15:
You also might want to get some compressed air to clean out the dusty innards of your machine (I added one to my order just to make it to the $25 free shipping mark at Amazon, and it ended up being quite handy).
As reported in the comments below, this repair works on both 15" and 17" versions, going back to 2006 and including the newer "unibody" models (unibody disassembly instructions are slightly different, but the repair requires the exact same set of tools). UPDATE: the new MacBook Pros introduced in April 2010 drop the Torx screws for Triwing screws; you'll need a Triwing screwdriver to complete the repair.
The first step is to disassemble the laptop, for which you'll need the aforementioned T6 Torx and Phillips screwdriver; it's best to print and follow these instructions. This undertaking is categorized by iFixit as "difficult" -- and while I would downgrade that rating to "easy if you're coordinated," you may want to go a different route if you're not comfortable with the idea of your laptop looking like the one at left.
After you've extracted the fan from the Mac's innards, the fan assembly comes apart quite easily (by undoing two Phillips screws), into three pieces. The inside of the fan assembly (illustrated in the brilliant photo below) is the noise culprit -- it just needs to be cleaned and lubed.
Get rid of any debris using a lint-free cloth. Then, apply some some WD-40 to the axle (illustrated by the subtle red arrow). I applied a bit to the axle, reassembled the fan, and everything went back together, quietly.
After reassembling the laptop (follow the directions in reverse), use the app smcFanControl to ramp up your fans to full speed for 30 seconds or so, and when you drop them back down to normal RPMs, the lubricant should have set. The Mac once again operates as it should, silently. Problem solved!
November 2, 2013 at 2:37PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
I was considering doing this, then i just blew into the exhaust and it fixed it, was so scared but now so happy!
December 6, 2013 at 3:27PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
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December 23, 2013 at 2:59PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM
Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day.
It's always helpful to read through articles from other writers and use a little something from other web
December 29, 2013 at 8:39AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM
thanks for your tip! u just saved me a 100 eur :D i was scared to damage something but it works great... finally silence :DD happy!!
January 15, 2014 at 4:28AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM
Stumbled across this when my 2008 MacBook Pro's left fan started screaming like a banshee after installing a new SSD. I thought I might've damaged a sensor or cable, but all the temp readings looked fine. After following this guide (lubricating with some red pipe grease), the fans are silent as can be. Awesome!
January 21, 2014 at 10:06PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM
Thank so much for this tutorial! I never even thought I could successfully open my MBP, let alone put it back together! The fan noise made me do it. Couldn't stand it anymore, so I went down to Home Depot, got the right screwdriver set and compressed air, and an voila! No noise....I do have a left over screw though...where does that go? Thank You!
January 22, 2014 at 12:24AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM
February 6, 2014 at 4:46AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM
Awesome tips! I just did pretty much what you said except couldnt get the fan apart....still blowing away all the built up dust seems to have solved the noise problem :)
April 6, 2014 at 6:32PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Worked just fine for me!!! Nice and quiet again ... thank you very much!
April 25, 2014 at 2:21AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
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June 19, 2014 at 2:24AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
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July 10, 2014 at 4:24PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Thanks so much. just did this took the bones of two hours as the screws drove me nuts to get out. Thankfully no noise so far. Fingers crossed. Thanks again for sharing.
July 13, 2014 at 3:20PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Just performed it on an A1226, a 2007 Macbook Pro model. Went from rickety fan noise to a delightfully quiet whirring nothing.
Kudos on a timeless self fix over 5 years after this post went live & $45 saved.
July 16, 2014 at 8:45PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Thanks, saved me a bunch of time and money
July 19, 2014 at 2:21PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Just wanted to drop a thank you on this, as I just performed that exercise successfully. On ifixit they only tell how to change a fan, but as I asked for oil, I found your tutorial. Instead of WD40 I used Ballistol, though.
Finishing up by speeding up the fans, there is no need for extra tools. It is sufficent to open Google Street View or a Youtube video in Firefox.
June 23, 2015 at 7:07AM
In the 2010 MBP, the fan does not easily come off the axle. I'm afraid I'll break it if I pry it off with a screwdriver.
December 10, 2017 at 10:12AM