Your car’s serpentine belt tensioner and pulleys are important parts that drive your alternator, water pump, power steering, and more. If any one of these parts fails, your car will stop running. Even if the engine still runs with a broken belt, it will soon overheat if the water pump isn’t working.
One of the first signs your serpentine belt is worn and needs replacement is a squealing sound when you first start the engine. That’s because a worn belt has lost tension and slips on the pulleys. If the belt appears to be shiny and hard, rather than soft and rubbery, it needs to be replaced.
An engine that is leaking oil or engine coolant can also damage the serpentine belt. In this case, the source of the leak, such as a valve cover gasket, must also be replaced.
As you might expect, the belt tensioner’s job is to keep the belt at the proper tension. If this is worn or seized up, the belt can also slip. Some cars have a manual belt tensioner to adjust the belt’s tension, while others are spring-loaded or hydraulic.
If you hear squealing when you start your car, have the serpentine belt tensioner and pulleys checked. Fortunately, the serpentine belt, tensioner, and pulleys are relatively inexpensive parts and an experienced mechanic can replace them relatively quickly. Taking care of these parts right away can avoid a more expensive repair.
Belt System U is your source for top-quality serpentine belts, tensioners, and pulleys.