A squealing belt can cause a lot of problems in your car and even stall it completely. Is it safe to drive with a squealing belt? We answer this question in detail here, examining why it happens and what to do about it as well.
A vehicle’s engine comprises many large components that work harmoniously for a safer and smoother drive. The entire system can come down if any part goes off the board. One such part is a serpentine belt that helps your car move. If it breaks or starts squealing, it’s time you get a new one.
Stay safe on the road! Its good that these days, engines use a better fan belt, drive belt, timing belt and serpentine belts. A bad belt is a rarity these days. But what if your belt starts making sound every time you drive? Is it still safe to use?
In this post, we’ll explore the safety risks associated with a squealing belt and offer tips for fixing the problem.
Serpentine Belt Noise Common Causes
Several different things can cause belt noise. Often, it is simply the result of the belt being worn or damaged. It’s also important to differentiate this noise from other engine noises such as a broken water pump or any other broken component.
However, there are several other potential causes as well.
1. Damaged or Worn Belt
A damaged or worn belt is the most common cause of serpentine belt noise. Over time, the belts will begin to show signs of wear and tear. Eventually, they will need to be replaced altogether.
2. Incorrect Tension
Another common cause of serpentine belt noise is incorrect tension. If the belt is too loose, it will slip and make a noise as it does so. Conversely, if the belt is too tight, it will strain the various pulleys and components, leading to noise.
3. Misaligned Pulleys
Misaligned pulleys are another potential cause of serpentine belt noise. If the pulleys are not correctly aligned, the belt will have to work harder to move them, which can lead to noise.
4. Damaged or Worn Pulleys
Like the belts, the pulleys can become damaged or worn over time. This damage can result in noise as well.
5. Foreign Objects
Another potential cause of serpentine belt noise is the presence of foreign objects in the belt’s path. These objects can become caught in the belt, causing it to make noise as it tries to move them.
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6. Loose Bolts or Brackets
Loose bolts or brackets can also cause serpentine belt noise. If the bolts or brackets that hold the pulleys are not tight, they can rattle and make noise as the belt moves.
7. Power Steering Pump Problems
Power steering pump problems can also lead to serpentine belt noise. If the pump is not working correctly, it can strain the belt, causing it to make noise.
8. Alternator Problems
Alternator problems can also be a potential cause of serpentine belt noise. If the alternator is not working correctly, it can strain the belt, causing it to make noise.
9. Air Conditioning Compressor Problems
Air conditioning compressor problems can also lead to serpentine belt noise. If the compressor is not working correctly, it can strain the belt, causing it to make noise.
10. Tensioner Problems
Tensioner problems can also be a potential cause of serpentine belt noise. If the tensioner is not working correctly, it can cause the belt to become loose or tight, which can lead to noise.
Is It Safe to Drive with a Squealing Belt?
A squealing noise from your car’s engine bay can be alarming, but it’s not always a cause for concern. Sometimes, a squealing belt needs to be adjusted or replaced. However, if the noise is accompanied by smoke or steam, it could signify a more serious problem.
If you’re hearing a squealing noise from your engine, it’s best to have it checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible. Driving with a squealing belt can cause further damage to your engine and may even lead to a breakdown.
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When to Repair or Replace a Squealing Belt
1. Battery light
The battery light may come on if the alternator belt is squealing. Alternator belts are under the hood, usually near the front of the engine. If the belt is squealing, it may be loose or damaged and need replacement.
2. Difficult steering
Difficult steering can also signal that the alternator belt needs to be replaced. The alternator belt drives the power steering pump, so if the belt is squealing, the pump may not be getting enough power. This can make steering difficult, especially at low speeds.
A squealing alternator belt can also cause overheating. The alternator helps keep the battery charged, and if the belt is loose or damaged, the alternator may not be able to do its job correctly. This can cause the engine to overheat.
4. AC problems
A squealing alternator belt can also cause AC problems. The alternator belt drives the compressor, and if the belt is loose or damaged, it may not be able to do its job correctly. This can cause the AC to blow warm air or not work.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s essential to have your vehicle checked by a mechanic as soon as possible. A squealing alternator belt should be replaced as quickly as possible to avoid further damage to your car.
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What Is the Cost to Replace a Serpentine Belt?
The cost of replacing the serpentine belt on an engine is modest because they are easily accessible within the engine hence fewer labor costs. In addition, serpentine belts aren’t expensive, costing between $30 and $80.
Depending on the make and type of your car, the cost of replacing a serpentine belt might vary significantly.
Your car’s belt tensioner may need to be replaced with a stretch fit belt over a “V” type structure. Replacement costs typically fall between $150 and $250, while some car models and brands may cost more. This is because specific engines have two belts, one of which is utilized to power the air conditioner compressor. Contact us to get an accurate price quote for custom belts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I worry about a squeaky belt?
If your car’s belt is squealing, it usually indicates that it needs to be replaced. The belt can slip or break, causing severe engine damage if it is old and worn. If you hear a squealing noise coming from your car’s engine, make sure to have it checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible.
How long can you drive with a slipping serpentine belt?
If your serpentine belt is slipping, getting it fixed as soon as possible is essential. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may be able to drive for a short period, but if the belt completely breaks, you’ll be stranded. It’s best to fix the problem before it gets to that point.
Can you spray wd40 on a squeaky belt?
Yes, you can spray WD40 on a squeaky belt. The WD40 will lubricate the belt and help stop the squeak.
It’s not safe to drive with a squealing belt, that is for sure. But why it happens and what you can do about it, is another matter all together. We have covered all of these aspects in the article above. We hope you liked the details!