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Clean out your PS4’s noisy fan already

You may void the warranty, but the difference is remarkable

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The front of the PlayStation 4 Pro, featuring 2 USB 3.0 ports Scott Nelson/Vox Studios

The PlayStation 4 is a remarkable device, notable for its sharp edges, rhombus-like profile and minuscule size. But with that super-small footprint comes one serious drawback. The ducted fan tends to trap dust, and after a while, it will have to spin ridiculously fast to keep your system cool.

A fast fan is a loud fan, and the fan inside the PS4 — especially the original model released in 2013 — is about as loud as they come. Fixing the problem is surprisingly simple, especially if you have a newer PS4 Slim or PS4 Pro.

(Note: Sony explicitly states, in no uncertain terms, that disassembling your PS4 will void its warranty. As someone who has had their original PS4 repaired under warranty, I value that service. Proceed at your own risk.)

The warning against cracking open your PS4 is the same for the original model as it is for the PS4 Pro.

If your PS4 is already out of warranty, you don’t have a whole lot to lose. Also, the PS4 Slim and the PS4 Pro both feature easy-to-remove plastic cowlings, so you might be able to take care of that dusty fan without really “disassembling” anything.

But we’ll get to that.

Original PS4

Cleaning the fan on the original PS4 is the most troublesome of the bunch. First, you’ll need to get a special screwdriver.

It’s called a T8 Torx bit, and you’ll need the security version with a little dimple carved into business end of it. The Torx nuts on the back of your PS4 have a small protrusion in the center, and without the dimple on a security bit you’re just not getting them out. These bits are almost certainly available at your friendly local hardware store, or for a pittance on Amazon.

Once you have the correct bit, go ahead and unplug all the cables from your console. Place it on a clean, flat, smooth surface that’s unlikely to ding or gouge the finish and turn it around. On the back, along the bottom of the console, you’ll need to remove three screws. They’re the only screws on the back of the PS4 that are located on the bottom half of the device, and they will likely be obscured by large black stickers.

A rear view of my original PlayStation 4. The first of three Torx screws are located in the lower left corner, behind a rectangular black sticker. And yes, those are real wood veneers. How nice of you to notice.
Charlie Hall/Polygon

Note that once you take those stickers off, you’ve basically voided your warranty. In my case, I’m already about four years out of warranty so I’m not terribly concerned.

Back those screws out and put them in a safe place. Then, flip your PS4 upside down and remove the bottom plastic cowling. You’ll be able to easily tip it up from the back, sliding it forward slightly to get clear of some sharp edges and wires on the front end.

You’re basically done at this point. The fan is exposed, so hit it from every angle with some canned air. Take special care to also clean out the grills along the left and right side of the console as well.

When putting things back together, be aware that the screws go in perpendicular to the angled backside of the PS4. Replace them gingerly, or you’ll likely strip the threads. Once you’ve buttoned everything back up, you’re good to go.

PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro

The latest iterations of the PS4 do not require tools to clean the fan. It’s all based on brute force.

Again, unplug your PS4 and place it on a clean, flat, smooth surface. Face the console away from you, grasp the bottom front of the console’s top plastic cowling with your fingertips and gently pull it up and towards you. You may need to start at one corner, then the other, to break it free. You will also need to back it out, as above, to get around the sharp angles along the opposite (back) edge of the device.

Breaking that initial seal will sound horrible, and you may need to flex the plastic a little bit to get around the tabs that hold it down, but it’s been designed to allow you to do this.

With the top cowling off, the fan is exposed. As above, use canned air to clean it out, and take special care to dust out any other intakes where dust could get trapped. Pop the cowling back on, and you’re done.

If you’re interested in other tips for the care and feeding of your PS4, check out our guide on changing out your thumbsticks on the DualShock 4.

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