How to Stop Your Serpentine Belt From Squeaking

Serpentine Belt From Squeaking

The serpentine belt in your car is responsible for powering the engine, alternator, air conditioning, power steering pump and more. It’s important to keep it in good shape so that you don’t experience any problems with one of these components. Luckily there are a few things you can do to stop your serpentine belt from squeaking.

12 Steps on How to Stop Your Serpentine Belt From Squeaking

1. Make sure the belt has some tension on it.

Put your ear near the serpentine belt and press down on it with your hand or a screw driver handle. If you can’t hear anything, give it another 1/4 turn until its secure but not too tight. If you tighten the belt too much, it could snap.

2. Lube up!

There are many products available that are made specifically for lubricating belts to reduce noise, such as this one here . Just follow the instructions on the bottle of whatever brand you decide to use for best results. Don’t overdo it though- if there’s any excess lube dripping off onto other components where it shouldn’t be, clean it off so none of it gets into your engine.

3. Check for any damage

If the belt has begun to crack or shatter, replace it as soon as possible. This is one of those components that’s usually ok to replace at anytime regardless of its condition, because it’s cheap and easy to do yourself (depending on your car). It can cause serious problems if you put off replacing it after it breaks. Some signs of excessive wear include strange sounds coming from the belt area when you start up your engine, streaking down the belt surface, fraying at the ends where they connect to other components like pulleys or idlers (idler pulleys are great for this), or cracks appearing in the body of the belt itself.

4. Inspect all of the belt’s components

Be sure to inspect your pulleys and idlers for any signs of wear as well. If all is well with these parts, and you’ve given the belt a good lube job, then it should be running smoothly and quietly now. Just remember to keep it in good shape so that you don’t have any problems down the road. It’s a good idea to check your belt at least once a month or before going on any long road trips if you notice problems with it.

5. Get an alignment for your tires!

Belts can be made from many different materials, and all of them have a little give when they’re new. As the belt gets older though, it loses its elasticity. If your tires are out of alignment either from hitting a curb or just wearing down unevenly, this can cause an otherwise good belt to squeak.

6. Regularly clean the engine bay

Over time, dirt and grim build up around components like your serpentine belt and pulleys will create friction that makes them squeak. If you have a black or dark colored engine bay, it’s likely that dirt and grim will get on the belt more often. Either get in the habit of cleaning your engine compartment regularly, or invest in a set of creeper seat covers so you can slide under the car to work with ease.

7. Use a bit of WD-40 on your belt

If those steps don’t work, some people recommend spraying some WD-40 onto the belt to reduce squeaks. Be aware that this can attract dust and contaminants though if you live in a dusty area like I do (that’s why they make it for rusty car parts after all). If you decide to go  this route, either do it before your car goes into storage and cover the belt with a disposable rag or paper towel to keep contaminants off of it, or wash off any excess WD-40 once you’re done.

8. Turn up the tunes!

Forgot about that can of compressed air? Not to worry, another way to get rid of squeaks is by playing some music over your speakers at high volume. The noise from the music should drown out any annoying creaking until you can get to a professional mechanic for help. Just make sure not to start blasting “Panama” by Van Halen in an enclosed garage…you might be in for quite a shock when your headlights suddenly turn on and nearly blind you when they reflect off of the…never mind.

9. Keep your A/C system in tip-top shape

If you’re noticing squeaks only when your air conditioner is on, it may be due to a faulty A/C compressor pulley or idler. You can get them replaced at any car parts store if they start causing problems for you, just don’t forget to reset your clock and radio presets (or disconnect the battery if you still have an old school vehicle like I do)!

10. Hit some curbs while parallel parking!

For this one, you’ll need someone else with their foot firmly planted on the brake pedal. Just back up slowly until you feel the tire hit the curb (watch out for those speed bumps!), and don’t forget to hit the brakes when you’re done. If your parking space is at least somewhat flat this shouldn’t cause any damage, and you’ll be grateful for it when your car stops squeaking.

11. Remove the belt and check for cracks

If you’ve tried everything else on this list and still haven’t found a way to make your serpentine belt stop squeaking, then it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Try removing the belt from its pulleys and examining it closely for any cracks in any of its components. If there are no visible signs of damage upon closer inspection, this may mean that something is just loose beneath your hood . For minor problems like this, using a small screwdriver or crowbar to tighten loose bolts and brackets may do the trick.

12. Get a new belt

If the belt is indeed cracked or worn down, it’s time to put on your walking shoes (or grab your wallet and keys) and head out to the car parts store to get a  new one. You can always ask a professional mechanic to help you get started with the installation process if you’re not too confident about it yourself, but be warned – your squeaking belt problem will likely come back once it wears out again unless there were other underlying issues causing the noise in the first place.

Conclusion

If none of these 12 points on how to remove serpentine belt squeaks work for you, or if you think that there’s damage underneath your hood that needs attention, have no fear! Almost every car manufacturer has an online service center these days where you can submit a ticket detailing your car problems and get personalized advice from mechanics who specialize in fixing them.

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