Serpentine Belt Noise

Have you ever turned your car on and heard a scream so loud an elephant running across your lawn would be less noticeable? That, my friend, is a squealing serpentine belt (multi-vee, poly-vee, or multi-rib belt). If you have not had your head under the hood, it is the black belt in the front of the car engine that attaches to several wheels. If you could take off the front grill, you might think “Zorro” of old (black-and-white TV days) had stopped by and carved the front of the car with his logo. The configuration often looks like an irregular “Z.”

Can I Just Cut it?

Typically, the belt to drive peripheral devices in the car connects different wheels. It needs to function for the car to move so making certain that a belt is not worn or crocked might avoid a squealing belt noise from ever occurring. The air conditioner, generator, alternator, water pump, or other devices are connected normally with a serpentine belt. If the belt breaks every item with a wheel tensioned by that belt will cease to function in a standardized manner. The vehicle stops working. The level of noise that can be generated by a belt squeal will make you wish it had broken. That is not the best option if you have any plans to use that car.

How Do I Stop the Noise?

If belt noise is heard, don’t play like you are an ostrich. This is not the time to procrastinate or to beat yourself up for going more than 50,000 miles without replacing it.

  • Stop ASAP and have a mechanic check under the hood.
  • He will examine the condition of the belt.
  • It might be worn.
  • Another consideration is the alignment might be off between the wheels.
  • There may be a significantly wheel out of line.
  • A wheel can be bent and not rotating evenly.
  • The traction of the belt tensioner may be out of range.

Planning Ahead Options

A few vehicles have more than one belt, but that is very rare. I shutter to imagine the noise that could be generated by two squealing belts. The best option, to avoid belt squeal or belt noise at any range, is to make sure you ask for that item to be checked at each oil change, unless you are often driving with someone who you do not want to be able to hear while they are sitting in the seat right next to you.