When a high-pitched squeal or whine comes from the engine compartment of a car, one very frequent reason is a belt failure or pending failure. Take the car to a qualified mechanic as soon as possible for diagnostics and belt replacement. Broken belts cause damage to many areas of a car and this damage is far more expensive to fix than the cost to replace a worn-down belt.
- Engine and accessory belts power many engine parts, including the power steering, air conditioner compressor, alternator, power steering and more. A broken belt, especially on that affects a critical system, often leaves the car dead until repaired.
- Think about how long ago the car’s timing belt was changed. If it was over 100,000 miles ago, then have a good mechanic inspect the vehicle and decide if belts need to be changed.
- They are made over rubber with small teeth that grip the wheels it operates. As the rubber wears down, it begins to slip. The wheel turning it still moves, but the belt slips or does not move at all. This causes the loud squeal.
- The engine belt squeal is a warning sound that it is going bad. It still works, but it will deteriorate and fail quickly due to the excess friction and heat generated by the slipping.
- Engine belts that become too worn eventually snap, leaving drivers stranded. Quick fixes, like lubricants, are available. However, a temporary solution like conditioner is no substitute for qualified maintenance.
- Different vehicles use different belt systems. Some cars have a different one for each system while others have a serpentine type that runs multiple systems. The air conditioner belt is usually a separate one, so squeals might only be heard when the AC is engaged.
- When mechanics replace or tighten engine belts, they should care for every one in the car. Condition and wear are not the only causes of their problems. Often it may just be a matter of tightening them. Mechanics may change every one except the timing belt during a regular tune-up.
- During a tune-up, many items including engine belts and spark plugs are changed. Drivers who notice engine squeals should check the time since their last tune-up. It may be time for another one.
Knowing this, you will now know more ways to prevent a all types of them breaking and potentially breaking your engine. You will also know some warning signs a belt going bad.