Pontiac Torrent - Meaning, Causes & Treatment

P0480 Pontiac Torrent

OBDII Trouble Code P0480 is quite common.  It indicates that your Pontiac Torrent’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: Pontiac Torrent
  3. Pontiac Torrent Causes and Diagnosis
    1. 1. Look for other codes
    2. 2. Check Cooling Fan 1
    3. 3. Examine the wiring harness at the fan
    4. 4. Examine the Fuses and Fan Relay
    5. 5. Additional P0480-related Causes
  4. Conclusion

P0480 Definition:  Cooling Fan 1 – Control Circuit Malfunction

P0480 Meaning for the Pontiac Torrent

This is the definition P0480 of the Pontiac Torrent. The two parts are broken down as follows: 

1. Cooling fan

The modern vehicle is equipped with an electric cooling fan.  The PCM (powertrain controller module) activates them whenever the temperature of your Torrent is above a set point.  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: Pontiac Torrent

Your Torrent will drive the same with P0480.  The engine's performance will not be affected by the fan (except if it starts to heat up).  Overheating can cause the engine to start making noises, misfiring or even smoking.

As stated above, driving your Torrent without a functioning fan can cause it to overheat, particularly if you are driving on a hot day or you’re in heavy traffic.  This can cause your air conditioner not to work properly.

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

Pontiac Torrent Causes and Diagnosis

P0480 Diagnosis Pontiac Torrent

Below are possible causes of P0480.  There are many possible causes for this code.  They are listed here in order of their potential causes.  

1. Look for other codes

You can gain invaluable insight by cross-referencing codes.  You might be able to clear the P0480 code from your Torrent if it is related to engine temperature sensor.

2. Check Cooling Fan 1

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 Pontiac Torrent lovers. 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 you spin the fan make sure it is cold and unplugged.  If the engine gets too hot, fans will turn on automatically.

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

3. Examine the wiring harness at the fan

Check the wire harness connecting to the fan to make sure it is turning ok.  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 Torrent’s hood at the fan relay.  Before you do, inspect the fan relay fuses to make sure that they haven’t been blown.  This can be done visually.  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.

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
  • A/C Pressure switch


A bad fan, or relay of a fan can often cause P0480.  Good luck fixing your Pontiac Torrent!

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