Most Common Causes of Motherboard Failure (+Prevention Tips)

Having to deal with a faulty motherboard can be very frustrating, believe me I know! In all my years of repairing PCs, I encountered a lot of faulty motherboards and in most cases, the fix was getting a new motherboard and this can be a costly repair.

To lower your chance of dealing with a faulty motherboard you need to know the most common causes for motherboard failure and the best way to prevent them, most of my clients did not know them and paid the price. For this reason, I have written this article so pay attention!

Overheating Problems

Maybe the most common cause of motherboard failure is overheating, keep in mind that all your components are powered trow your motherboard and if your PC or laptop isn’t cooled properly this can easily lead to you having to deal with a faulty motherboard.

Overheating may occur when:

  • Not having a proper cooling solution: if your PC cooling system isn’t well designed and can’t eliminate the heat generated by your components when you run demanding tasks
  • Having a small PC case: many people want to save money on the PC case to invest in high-end components and they end up with a crowded pc and not enough room for a proper airflow
  • Going overboard with overclocking: if you don’t have the proper knowledge to do safe overclocking it is better not to do it
  • Dust accumulation: in time your PC can get filled with dust and this can lead to some big overheating problems

As you can see there are a lot of reasons why your PC may overheat and this most likely in time will result in faulty components.

How to prevent overheating problems:

1. Don’t cheap out on your cooling solution, if you aren’t sure how to do it get help from a professional

2. Get the right PC case for your components

3. Avoid putting your pc directly on the floor, elevate it so it will not end up being a dust vacuum

4. If you have a laptop, don’t operate its ventilation and don’t put it on pillows or blankets because it has a bigger chance of overheating

5. Don’t overclock any of your components by more than 15% even if your motherboard is designed for overclocking

6. Clean your PC from dust at least 2 times a year, go to a professional or do proper research on how to do it, there rea a lot of things that can go wrong if you aren’t cleaning your PC the proper way

Power Grid Short Circuits or Lighting Strikes

One very common cause for your motherboard failure is short circuits in your power grid, faults can easily occur in any network and it can be very hard to demonstrate to your electricity provider that your PC got that because of them.

Big storms are a constant danger to all electronics, if lightning hits the main power grid your PC has a low chance of surviving, and most homes don’t have installed the proper lighting surge protection devices to protect your electronics (too expensive).

How to prevent these problems:

1. Get a good power supply for your PC that has short circuit protection

2. Instal a good UPS that will galvanically separate your pc from the power grid, expensive but efficient (the UPS may get fried but not your computer)

3. Unplug your PC in case of a lightning storm

Internal Short Circuit

Many times a motherboard gets faulty because of a short circuit that occurs inside your PC and because it is after the power supply your components will not be protected by it, so what are the reasons why an internal short circuit may occur?

  • Faulty components: usually a faulty CPU or GPU will be the cause here
  • Connector unproperly plugged in: this occurs when the power connector of the motherboard or GPU isn’t plugged in all the way
  • Uninsulated cables: in the insulation of the internal cables is compromised this can lead to a short circuit
  • Bad motherboard installation: the motherboard should not touch the PC case, no room for improvisations here, sometimes the PC technician who installs the motherboard becomes too creative

How to prevent these problems:

1. If your PC gives blue screens or restarts out of the blue, troubleshoot the problem, do not ignore it because if this is caused by a faulty CPU or GPU you may end up with a faulty motherboard as well (if it isn’t too late already)

2. Change the term paste of your CPU once every 2 years

3. Visually inspect that your motherboard does not touch the PC case or you don’t have uninsulated cables

4. Check the main power connectors are properly plugged in, push them to see if they are in all the way (do this with your PC turned off!)

Ungrounded Socket

All electronic devices need to be plugged in in a grounded socket, be aware that if your socked is ungrounded some of the protections incorporated in the PC power supply may be useless, so even if you buy a decent power supply you may not benefit from its overvoltage protection.

How to prevent this problem:

Ask an electrician to check if your socket is grounded and if not ask him to give you a solution for this problem.

Low-end Motherboard Pushed Beyond Its Limits

This is not a very common problem but in some cases, you may end up with a faulty motherboard because the manufacturer just used bad components and your motherboard just couldn’t handle the intense use if you are a heavy gamer or a power user.

How to prevent this problem:

The answer here is more straightforward, get a decent motherboard from a good PC manufacturer and you will never experience this problem. You don’t have to buy an expensive motherboard but going for the cheapest one may not be the best idea either.

If you want to be super safe just get a motherboard designed for overclocking but do no overclocking, these motherboards are built with the best components, and their circuits are designed to handle the higher power usage and voltages of overclocked components.

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I started building and fixing PCs in high school. After a couple of years of offering consultancy to a PC repair shop, I became the goto guy for all my acquaintances for PC/Laptop related buying advice or troubleshooting.