What Causes Motherboard Failure: 7 Prominent Reasons

what causes motherboard failure

Can you think of a computer without a motherboard?

Of course not! The motherboard is one of the significant components of any computer. In the case of motherboard failure, your computer crashes. Also, when it comes to laptop motherboard repair or replacement, it costs you high. And, unless you know the cause of failure, you will not be able to repair it.

Electrical shock, excessive heat, deposition of dust & debris, accidental spill, and physical damage are common causes of motherboard failure.

7 Reasons for Laptop Motherboard Failure:

This blog post will discuss the 7 prominent reasons that cause motherboard failure:

1. Any Accidental Spillage

If you enjoy your coffee or green tea while working on your computer, you need to beware. Any accidental spills could cause your motherboard to shoot instantly. The liquids, including water, could damage the various chips that make up your motherboard, causing it to fail.

If you spill something on your laptop, never try to turn on your computer/laptop. Take it immediately to any reputable repair shop to clean it by a professional. There is one rice trick DIY floating on the internet that suggests you sag your laptop in a heap of rice to absorb all the moisture due to liquid spillage.

However, it is worth noting that the rice trick can only absorb moisture, but it won’t absorb any conductive substances that stick to the internal components after the spill. They need to be cleaned thoroughly.

2. Dust, Pet Hair, and Debris

Computers and laptops are prone to heating and even overheating. Especially if you undertake multiple operations simultaneously, computers are likely to overheat at a faster rate. It may burn off your system’s internal components and circuits, including the motherboard. All the computers come with a vent and cooling fans to avoid building up heat within the internal components during operation.

If you are a gamer or live streamer and using gaming laptops for extended periods, your computer is at higher risk of overheating. While most computers cool down by taking in cool air around the computer and then exhausting the hot air, this is not the case for laptops with clogged vents. If the fans is not able to circulate the air inside, your computer will heat up like hot dogs on a grill.

If you own a Desktop PC, you should put it on the top of your desk instead of on the floor. If your desk is equipped with a cabinet inside. where the laptop computer can be placed, ensure it is ventilated.

Accumulation of Pet hair, dust, and debris blocks the air vents. The computer vents and fans are clogged up with dust, dirt, and even debris. If these particles accumulate within the machine, they begin slowing the flow of air, which helps keep the machine cool. It’s like harmful fats that block your arterial circulation, which causes a heart attack.

3. Manufacturer Design Defects

The motherboards are manufactured in mass quantities, and there is a chance that manufacturing defects will occur. Low-quality motherboards can also fail more rapidly. The capacitors that are installed could be defective and cause issues.

The bus design of the motherboard may have been designed incorrectly, and there may be problems with cooling. The majority of motherboards come with an assurance that will cover the cost when problems occur within the warranty period; however, it’s usually just one year in duration and does not include user-generated problems, naturally.

Sometimes, manufacturers acknowledge the flawed designs, but typically they don’t. Most often, repair shops for computers can determine if there’s a “known issue” because we notice the same problems happening repeatedly using the same model and model computer.

We can see certain trends related to specific generations of computers, not just one particular manufacturer. Sometimes, these issues with the manufacturer aren’t “known” for years but become apparent after conversations online.

4. Overheating Problems

The motherboard may overheat and cause heat damage. It can occur when multiple operations are executed simultaneously and the power source is constantly running at its maximum power. It is recommended to give your computer a regular rest when playing games, rendering videos, or watching videos.

In certain instances, the computer may overheat due to fluctuations in the power supply or some of the components in the motherboard circuit. It is a shame that putting a laptop on your child’s lap or a soft surface can block intake and exhaust fans. It is possible to prevent overheating by maintaining the fan basins and ensuring your computer can rest after a long period of use.

You can also keep your laptop in cool rooms and put it on a hard, cold surface. Consider installing temperature monitoring software to keep track of your computer’s internal temperatures. Some freeware programs like Speccy, Core Temp, and HW Monitor can help.

If your device is causing excessive heat, it could be time to have the internals cleaned and, in certain instances, apply a new thermal paste put on the GPU or CPU so that there is a transfer of heat from the internal components toward the heatsink.

5. Normal Wearing Off

The motherboard is likely to end up failing (if it doesn’t fail in the first place initially.) gradually It is a known fact. After all, a motherboard is an electric circuit board that has a short life. The estimated lifespan of a quality motherboard stands at around 50,000 hours if maintained appropriately. For cheaper motherboards, lifespan is considerably low up to 20000 hours.

Once, they’ve reached their maximum lifespan, they can fail, and you might have to replace them or your computer. The good thing is that when you understand why motherboards fail, proactive and pre-planning actions could be undertaken to reduce the negative effects.

6. Electrical Surges and Spikes

This sudden shift in voltage can damage the delicate motherboard circuits. Be aware that Motherboards depend upon Direct Current (DC) Electricity. The connection of your laptop to an electrical outlet that is prone to changes in electrical output can cause harm to the motherboard. Although the damage might not be apparent at times, it could harm your motherboard over time.

A power surge or electrical charge is a brief burst of energy in an electrical circuit. It could be caused by electrical appliances that consume a lot of power, issues in electrical wires, issues with the power source outside of the home, or even the consequence of lightning strikes. Lightning is the most common cause of motherboard malfunctions caused by a Power surge or spike.

To shield your computer from electric surges, use a high-end surge protector that neutralizes the impact. It’s easy to buy the $30-$40 surge suppressor to safeguard an appliance that costs less than a hundred dollars.

Surge Suppressors must replace every 5 to 10 years, based on your purchase manufacturer and model. It is crucial to register your warranty to protect your electronics in the case of damages. If the lightning strikes, there is nothing you can do to shield yourself from the destructive force of Mother Nature.

7. Cigarettes, Perfumes, and Aerosols

The tar from cigarettes is harmful to your health and computers’ health too. When mixed with dust, smoke from cigarettes creates a gooey material inside computers. In addition to cigarettes, other aerosols, such as perfume or hair spray, could have similar effects. Keep in mind that any aerosol floating through the air can be absorbed into your device once activated.

It creates an oily residue that allows dirt and foreign objects to build up and it is also very difficult to get rid of. Hence, you should keep a regular schedule of cleaning your computer (at an accredited shop) and attempt to avoid such build-ups.

What is the Prominent Sign of Motherboard Failure?

Determining the difference between a failed or failing motherboard and other components failing isn’t easy. This problem is because every component in a laptop is wired to the motherboard. Therefore, if you’re having difficulty seeing the screen, it could mean that your motherboard is failing or the video card is not working.

Therefore, any component of your computer that fails could indicate that motherboard malfunction. More specific signs indicate that the motherboard fails such as the motherboard is shutting down, all system components are powering up with no live image showing on the screen, and only certain parts of the motherboard are functioning.

How to Diagnose the Motherboard Failure Successfully?

Finding out if the motherboard is at the root of a specific issue can be challenging. While there are tools specializing in identifying if a particular component is damaged, the most effective method of finding out which components are affected is to perform a simple bench test.

However, it requires an additional computer or at least additional components. The best way to go about this is to find out the causes that might be the cause of motherboard malfunction.

For instance, if the system stops working randomly, it could be because of the motherboard, the system’s power supply, or the connecting cables. In this scenario, you can plug the power unit into a different computer that is confirmed to be functioning. If the issue persists on the other computer, then the power supply could be the reason for system instability.

If the computer starts but does not display a functioning screen, you could transfer the video card to another working computer and find out if the card is damaged. You can then try the working video card of the second computer on the damaged one to determine if it’s only the video card or if it’s the motherboard. Although this approach isn’t 100% foolproof, it can be efficient.

Tips to Prevent Motherboard Failure

Simple actions can be taken to ensure that the motherboard doesn’t fail. While a motherboard is likely to fail in the normal course because of age or unexpected situations, it’s more susceptible to failure if you follow a couple of simple steps.

·       The first is to ensure that the computer is placed in an area that is stable, is not prone to be tipped over, and is not likely to get liquid spilled onto it.

·       If any work is done that could expose the motherboard, you should use an antistatic wrist strap or release any static electricity before using the machine by touching a grounded object.

·       Thirdly, keeping the motherboard free of dust can guarantee that it is working as it should; however, some computer manufacturers are not allowing users to remove the case from the computer during the warranty time.

Also, using an appropriate surge protector will protect your motherboard from being damaged through power surges.

Are Laptop Motherboards Highly Prone For Damage?

Laptop motherboards can be more vulnerable to destruction than a computer’s motherboard. Although they tend to be clean, they are more susceptible to heat due to the smaller size of the case. They also are more prone to impacts since the laptop is frequently moved. It is essential to have a protective case specifically for laptops to prevent strong forces from striking the laptop when moving a laptop.

Many laptops come with vents on the sides and the bottom. Because cooling the laptop’s interior is more difficult due to the small space, making sure that they are not blocked while working on your laptop is crucial. Also, the motherboard of your laptop should be properly cool.


Motherboards are the integral yet most delicate part of your laptop that needs to be handled carefully. In the event of motherboard failure, it is important to identify the cause of such failure. If you are unsure about the process, consider taking the help of a qualified computer repair shop.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.