Ford Focus P0480 - Meaning, Causes & Diagnosis

P0480 Ford Focus

OBDII code P0480 is quite common.  It indicates that your Ford Focus’s “cooling fan 1 control circuit” is malfunctioning.  It’s a generic code, so it has the same meaning for any vehicle made for the 1996 model year and up.


Índice de Contenido
  1. P0480 Definition:  Cooling Fan 1 – Control Circuit Malfunction
    1. 1 Cooling Fan
    2. Control Circuit Malfunction
  2. P0480: Symptoms for Focus
  3. Ford Focus P0480 Diagnoses + Causes
    1. 1. You can also check for additional codes
    2. 2. 1. Check out Cooling Fans
    3. 3. The Wiring Harness is located at the Fan.
    4. 4. Examine the Fuses and Fan Relay
    5. 5. Others P0480 Reasons
  4. Conclusion

P0480 Definition:  Cooling Fan 1 – Control Circuit Malfunction

P0480 Meaning for the Ford Focus

This is the Ford Focus' definition of "P0480", broken down into two parts. 

1 Cooling Fan

The modern vehicle is equipped with an electric cooling fan.  The PCM (powertrain controller module) activates them whenever the Focus is at a specific temperature.  When the air conditioner turns on, one of these lights will come on as well.

Control Circuit Malfunction

If the PCM has commanded cooling fan 1 to turn on, but there is an error, P0480 will be stored in the PCM’s memory.  This occurs if either the fan doesn’t respond or the PCM detects a serious fault in the control circuit.

P0480: Symptoms for Focus

Your Focus will drive the same with P0480.  The engine will run normally without fan, unless it starts to heat up.  The engine might start to knock, misfire, or smoke if you heat it too much.

As stated above, driving your Focus without a functioning fan can cause it to overheat, particularly if you are driving on a hot day or you’re in heavy traffic.  The air conditioner may also stop working properly.

You’ll want to keep an eye on the temperature gauge and fix P0480 as soon as possible.  If you overheat, the head gasket may burst and require expensive repairs.

Ford Focus P0480 Diagnoses + Causes

P0480 Diagnosis Ford Focus

Below are possible causes of P0480.  There are many possible causes for this code.  These are listed in an order that allows you to verify their authenticity.  

1. You can also check for additional codes

It is possible to cross-reference other codes and gain useful insight.  If you receive a code relating to engine coolant temperature sensor then repairing it could clear P0480 from your Focus.

2. 1. Check out Cooling Fans

The battery should be disconnected.  You don’t want the fan spinning up (which could happen if you try and spin it and the vehicle is hot).

There are two Ford Focus owners. NOT directly in front of your air conditioner Is almost always fan 1.

You’re going to spin the fan to see if it’s locked up or otherwise bad.  Before spinning the fan, make sure the engine and battery are cold.  When the engine heats up, fans can switch on by themselves.

If the fan requires effort to spin, then it’s bad.  It should be replaced to fix the P0480 error in Focus.  Check the codes to see if it returns.

3. The Wiring Harness is located at the Fan.

Check the wire harness connecting to the fan.  The road debris can cause damage to fan wiring by kicking it under your vehicle, ripping up the harness and damaging the wires.  If you live in an area that is chipmunk friendly, don’t be surprised if they chewed the wiring.  I’ve seen this a few times.

Verify that all terminals have been securely plugged into the fan.  Make sure that pins don't corrode and are straight.

4. Examine the Fuses and Fan Relay

Now that we have verified that nothing obvious is causing P0480, it’s time to take a look under your Focus’s hood at the fan relay.  Before you do, inspect the fan relay fuses to make sure that they haven’t been blown.  Visually, you can check this.  You can verify that the fan relay is powered on.

Now it’s time to take a look at fan relay 1 itself.  Check out the video below, it’ll show you how to test the fan relay with a multimeter.  If there’s no power going to the relay, you’ll need to find where the short is.

5. Others P0480 Reasons

Here are some other common causes of P0480, although they aren’t as common as the ones listed above:

  • VSS (vehicle Speed Sensor)
  • Failed Intake Air Temp Sensor
  • The A/C Pressure Switch


The most common cause of P0480 is a bad fan/a bad relay.  Have fun fixing your Ford Focus.

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