HOW TO: Change blower motor for ’05 Pontiac Vibe

My wife’s 2005 Ponitac Vibe would occasionally refuse to control the cabin temperature. We could feel a little bit of coldness (or hotness) near the vents on a really hot (or cold) day. The symptoms ended up pointing to the blower motor. I did some research and it appears that this is a fairly common component to wear out. Additionally, there is a resistor that controls the speed of the motor that fails over time. So I decided to take on this project to save some serious labor bucks. In the spirit of sharing knowledge, I took pictures while replacing these parts so anyone else taking on this project will have a simple document to guide them.

Here is a picture of the new blower, drain tube, and grommet:

and here is the resistor (still covered in bubble wrap):

The first step is to remove the ground connection from the battery:

Next, remove the glove box.  The globe box just sits in a grove in the dash so it basically just lifts right out after removing this screw:

With the glove box out, the next step is to remove the control box that’s located under the blower motor.  Once this box is out of the way, we can lower the blower motor out of it’s home.

To remove the controller, take out these two screws (there is a third screw but that is actually tied to a guide that pops out with the controller frame).

After removing these screws, we’ll pull out the black plastic retaining plugs from the bottom of the dash (see arrows above).

They look like this:

Remove the wiring harnesses from the controller:

You should be able to just wiggle it loose now.  Notice the guide piece I mentioned earlier:

After the controller is out of the way you’ll have full access to the blower motor.  Disconnect the drain plug and the wiring.  All that remains are the three 5.5mm screws holding the motor up.  Remove those and lower out the motor.

Since we’re replacing the motor, we might as well replace the resistor too.  It is a wear part after all.  The location is shown in one of the pictures above.  Unclip the wiring and remove the two 5.5mm screws.  The rear screw is pretty painful to reach.  I ended up using a 7/32 socket to back it out.  This is a prime use case for a universal socket joint.  It wasn’t difficult enough to warrant running to the hardware store to pick up another tool so I just patiently backed it out with the tools at hand.

Once the two screws have been removed, the resistor will lower out.

Now we’re ready to put everything back together.

Screw the new resistor in and connect the wiring harness.

Screw the new blower motor in, connect the wiring harness, and attach the new drain tube.

Remount the controller and attach the wiring harness.

Since I was in here, I also replaced the in cabin air filter (it was pretty clogged and may have contributed to the premature motor failure).

Attach the ground wire to the battery and test out your work.

This is a pretty simple and straight forward project.  DIY and save yourself some cash.

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57 Responses to HOW TO: Change blower motor for ’05 Pontiac Vibe

  1. Jim says:

    Thank you for the post. It was very helpful in guiding me on how to repace the resistor. Motor may be next as it is giving a low rumbling sound.

  2. keith says:

    Thanks! Our blower is not working on our 04 vibe and just couldn’t see paying someone 200+ to replace this for me. Gonna use your instructions to put a new one in this week.

    Cheers!
    keith

  3. gwen says:

    My heater only works on high is that the blower motor and my washer fluid won’t work either are they related and what do I do?

    • admin says:

      It’s possible that your blower motor is failing if it only operates at high voltage levels. I do not believe it is related to your washer fluid dispenser. I suppose you could be having an electrical problem that is affecting both devices. I would recommend you take your vehicle in for a free estimate to understand what needs to be fixed.

    • josh says:

      this is only the blower motor resistor. the job of the resistor is to resist current, overtime it literally burns up. just replace the resistor and you will be good as new.

  4. rfrydryck says:

    I replaced my blower as described in the instructions. And it works fine. Unfortunately, I cant start my car now. When I turn the key it cranks and cranks but never starts. Also strange, as soon as I turn the key, the radiator fan turns on and stays on until I turn off the key. Is it possible that I messed up the wiring harnesses?

    Thanks

    • admin says:

      I would recommend disconnecting your battery and taking a closer look at all of the electrical connections you made. If the problem persists, after putting everything back together, you should take a look at your fuses. If you’re still having problems, you should have a professional take a look.

  5. Seeca says:

    Thank you for these instructions. You explained everything perfectly. Now we have a blower that doesn’t squeak anymore!

  6. Steven says:

    In my ’05 vibe, my ac and heat both work, but it seems like my blower works intermittently. To me it seems like the fan is sometimes gets stuck and won’t start. I think this, because when I hit a bump all the sudden it works. I don’t want to take it to the shop because I know they will over charge me, so I want to do it my self. Do you mind telling how much you paid for all your parts? And do you think I should just start by replacing the resistor, and then if the problem still exists replace the motor, or vise-versa?

    Thank you for the help

    • admin says:

      It has been awhile since I purchased these parts. I think the prices were pretty reasonable. Call your local auto parts store and tell them what you’re looking for. They should be able to give you a quote over the phone.

    • admin says:

      While you’re in there, you might as well replace them both.

  7. Dee says:

    THANK YOU so much for posting this. I have an ’07 Vibe and the air was going off and on…then finally not at all. I replaced all the small interior fuses associated with it, checked out the relay’s under the hood, and listened to make sure the compressor was coming on. I also (first thing) checked to make sure it wasn’t just the switch. Someone behind the counter of a parts store mentioned the blower motor/resistor. Haha…I already had my glove box out because I was hearing a “popping” sound from behind it. That stopped after a few pushes on it. Guessing they both need replaced now(; Your post will guide me through it! Just an old lady who is determined NOT to spend any money on an overpriced mechanic(; Again, THANK YOU!

  8. Al says:

    Thanks for the instructions. I had to pull the blower because I’m getting a ‘rubbing’ noise when I turn left when the blower is on. I thought something was stuck inside the blower housing but nothing obvious. I took the blower out and ran it and tilted it back and forth and didn’t hear anything. The blower cage seems pretty solid so I’m stumped as to what is making the noise only when turning left…not right.
    Any thoughts on this?
    Thanks

    • admin says:

      Without the combination of running the blower, I would have suggested taking a look at the front wheel bearings.

    • Dan says:

      I have the same issue. Blower noise happens when I turn left only. AC and heat both work fine. I fully cleaned out the filters and intake to the blower system, but the noise continues only when turning left. Did anyone have a suggestion for the cause of this or is a full blower and resistor needed?

      • admin says:

        That’s a strange one. I’m not sure if replacing those components will solve the problem unless “turning left” is more coincidental than causal.

  9. Kim says:

    Thank you for this thread. My blower fan died last week the start of 90+ degree days here in the North East. With the help of this thread, my son was able to do this job in less than 15 minutes. It cost me parts and dinner, I am truly blessed and now a very cool mom.

  10. Frank says:

    Excellent instructions.. saved me lots of time.. Thank you very much!

  11. Don says:

    This thread has helped me immensely in getting the heater motor and fan out of my 2006 Vibe. However, I have a slightly more difficult problem than just replacing the motor. My daughter says that the heater suddenly started making a racket and parts started flying out from under the dash. The fan apparently disintegrated! It might have gotten something into it, but the filter was still intact, so maybe it could have come through the defroster? In addition to the busted fan, I also have two large holes in the housing the surrounds the fan, as the fan fragments blew two large holes in the housing (one is maybe 2 inches by 6 inches). Now, how do you replace the entire housing without disassembling the entire dash? Or can the housing be patched? Both holes are in the smooth circular sides of the housing.

    • cory says:

      Rather than replacing an entire assembly, you might try to use the extremely strong and resilient HVAC Aluminum sealing tape (not duct tape, the real deal HVAC rated tape).

  12. Nick says:

    Thank you! Great instructions!

  13. Tom says:

    Fantastic directions. 15 minutes to get the motor out, 30 minutes to get the new blower from the parts store, 15 minutes to put it back in. The pictures were perfect!
    Thanks!

  14. Cory B says:

    Thanks for taking the time to post these instructions. Contributions like this make the online community a better place.

    I’m going to change these parts now that I have this guide.

  15. Mike says:

    Thanks for this guide, especially the pictures! Other than that rear resistor screw, it was easy!

  16. Serge says:

    Thanks so much for the great photos and how-to. My dad is visiting and mentioned that he only had high speed on his AC/heater (2006 Vibe), suspecting a resistor problem I did a bit of Google-fu, sure enough resistor failure (apparently a common Vibe problem).
    Part~ 707 resistor, part no. 88973260 OR AC Delco # 15-80202
    Sending Pops home with full instructions how to fix it himself (and pretty sure he’ll have to remove the glove-box as he is far from spry), so nice to find some simple solutions once in a while!
    Cheers!

  17. Doug says:

    Great instructions, nice to know what to look for before starting. A universal joint on the socket helps, I was also able to turn the screws out without the rachet. Next time I would just put the front screw in. Thanks!

  18. warren says:

    Hi. Pontiac 06 vibe. Fan worked then just stp stopped. Replaced burnt resistor but still fan wont work. Is it the fan? A relay? Should i put 12 volts to fan from a battery to test? Really appreciate your help. Sincerely warren.

  19. jerrod says:

    Great instructions! Saved me some dough

  20. Mike says:

    Thanks for the information. I’ve removed it before and just cleaned the brushes on the blower motor and got another 3 years out of it, but this time it just needed replacing and in 3 years you forget things so this helped a lot. I didn’t have any trouble with the far screw on the blower, but last time I put it in I just hand tightened. Even tightening it up I just put a 5.5 mm socket on a 1/4 to 3/8 adapter, put the socket wrench on the end of that and there was just enough room to tighten it right up. About a 20-30 minute job. Best price I found for the blower was wrench monkey, but napa was close enough in price that it was worth just picking it up in town.

  21. Todd says:

    Thank you! Saved me a good bit on labor, the whole thing cost me less than $120 after I bought a 5.5mm socket. I found that there is some give in the flooring by the resistor, which let me get to that back screw. A great guide and pictures.

  22. Michael Tschoepe says:

    Thank you so much for the info. My wife called me today saying that the blower stopped working on her way to work this morning on our 05 Vibe.
    I’m on a business trip and returning home Friday.
    So a guess my work is cutout for Saturday, but thanks to your instruction I feel very confident it will be a straight forward job
    Michael

  23. Jeff says:

    Thanks for tips.
    Removed mouse. Bad off balance vibration gone.

  24. Jonathan says:

    Dude! Thank you SO much! I don’t think I’ve ever commented on a forum like this, but I just had to after using this. I was in the exact same position (wife’s blower motor on her ’05 Pontiac Vibe gave out)…it’s uncanny! You saved me so much time, money, and heartache. I really appreciate it.

    Also, two quick additional things:
    1) Why was it necessary to disconnect the battery? While I was in there, I messed around with the connection and tried to quickly turn the air on low, just to see if the problem was a bad connection to the blower motor. I also tried just replacing the resistor first (since it’s a cheaper part), to see if that fixed the problem too….but it didn’t. Anyways, I hope re-connecting the battery and attempting to turn the air on didn’t hurt anything. It didn’t seem to.
    2) While I was in there, I found out that her air blend door actuator was also not working right (again, had to mess with it up there while the car was on). Anyways, that thing turned out to be a major pain to replace. It’s a simple piece that’s only attached by two screws, but it is in an extremely difficult place to reach. At any rate though, everything is back up and running great. Thanks again!

    • admin says:

      Hi Jonathan,

      I generally disconnect the battery any time I am messing with an electrical component to avoid any chance of a short. Glad things are back up and running!

  25. Joy says:

    I was told only working on high, and the clicking sound that only stops if holding in air recirc button = bad resistor. But above comment mentioned a ” blend door” are the 2 similar?

    • Joy says:

      Above is on 2006 Pontiac vibe.
      Am getting passenger side airbag replaced for free on a recall, on Monday. Asked about just throwing a new resistor in at same time. If the dash is already off for airbag, should I be expecting to pay huge labor for new resistor installation?

      • admin says:

        Hi Joy,
        I’m not sure how much a shop will charge swapping out the resistor. If you don’t mind, I’d love to know what they end up charging you.

  26. Ron says:

    I had the very same problem it took me a while to figure out but this my save some time and money for most here make sure that you check your connection I found on my Pontiac vibe 2007 all it ended up being is a loose connection where the plug fits in to the blower how ever originally I did replace the resistor Good luck

  27. Tim says:

    Ditto all the above praise. Thank you. Works the same for my ’03 Vibe. Total cost from Napa $172 incl. tax for blower motor, resistor, and cabin air filter.

  28. Kevin Classen says:

    The blower on my daughter’s 05 Vibe started only blowing on high. From research I deduced the cause as a faulty resistor. With these awesome instructions I was able to replace it and I am not the most mechanically inclined! Although I was able to reach the resistor without removing the blower motor. The rear screw was difficult to get to but I managed with the 5.5 mm. I put the new resistor in with just the front screw. Seems pretty secure. Thanks again!

  29. Andy says:

    Hello!
    After a few months of intermittent blowing (at any speed) it went completely kaput. I am a complete novice at car repair but with some internet research and youtube videos I felt confident enough to tackle this. I ordered a new blower motor on Amazon for $40 then successfully removed the original blower motor and when I disconnected the wiring I noticed one of the two prongs was burnt. I’m afraid to plug in the new motor as I don’t want to damage it. I am unsure on how to proceed. Also, is it OK to drive the car with the disconnected blower motor? Thanks in advance for any guidance you may offer.

    • admin says:

      I suspect something failed in your old motor causing the “burnt prong”. I wouldn’t expect your new motor to have the same issue. However, you might want to check with a shop regarding your situation.

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