If any odd sounds emanating from your vehicle’s engine, it could be a sign that the serpentine belt is faulty or misaligned. You should never ignore unusual noise from your engine. The serpentine belt is essential for providing mechanical power to your vehicle’s alternator, air conditioner compressor, power steering pump, and additional peripheral accessories.
Serpentine Belts Can Squeal as a Result of a Misalignment
It is quite possible the serpentine belt is in decent shape yet misaligned. If you recently performed a DIY serpentine belt installation or if a professional mechanic did the work on your behalf and the belt makes noise, it is an indication the belt might not be properly aligned with the pulleys. However, there is also a chance the worn tensioner has spurred misalignment due to the belt being loose. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to inspect all pulleys and tensioners when replacing a serpentine belt.
Misalignment of the Idler Pulley Might be the Cause of the Noise
Serpentine belts are not the sole component that have the potential to be misaligned. There is the potential for the idler pulley to cause problems. The idler pulley serves an important role in ensuring the serpentine belts continue to move as designed. A misaligned idler pulley might result in the serpentine belt making noise.
A Worn or Faulty Tensioner Might be Responsible for the Noise
Drive belt tensioners ensure the serpentine belt has the right level of tension. Worn or faulty tensioners compromise the serpentine belt tension, causing it to loosen and result in odd noises.
The Serpentine Belt Might Simply be Worn Out
Serpentine belts used on older automobiles typically lasted around 50,000 miles. The more modern serpentine belts are comprised of comparably strong synthetic rubber. If your vehicle’s serpentine belt is comprised of this formidable rubber, it has the potential to last 100,000 miles. At this point, the belt’s ribs will likely start wearing out, preventing it from moving over the pulleys in the proper manner and generating noise. It is also worth noting that low temperatures hasten serpentine belt deterioration.
The Serpentine Belt Might Have Slipped
In some cases, the serpentine belt noise is the result of the belt slipping off the pulleys. This slippage results from the failure to attend to the loosened serpentine belt in a timely manner. If such slippage takes place, the resulting noise will be quite loud as the key engine accessories will quickly stop functioning in unison.
The Serpentine Belt Might be Cracked or Excessively Dry
A serpentine belt that has dried out as a result of age or the friction that stems from constant motion will prove quite noisy. In fact, even heat from the engine can lead to a noisy serpentine belt. This wear on the belt will cause it to fail to maintain the tension necessary to adequately grip the pulleys that hold it together, leading to a slip that proves annoyingly noisy. The bottom line is if you spot noticeable cracking in the serpentine belt, it is a sign it has become excessively dry and might snap. Replace the belt as soon as possible to ensure proper functionality and to eliminate the noise.