How Do I Stop Fan Belt Squealing?

Carrsmith picture of fan beltCarrsmith knows that nothing can be more embarrassing than driving around the streets of the greater Gainesville area with a squeaky fan belt under the hood of a car. Aside from being embarrassing, a squeaky fan belt can be mildly if not terribly bothersome when listening to it squeal for extended periods of time. Sometimes a belt will squeal upon starting a vehicle and will disappear shortly thereafter. Other times though the squealing belt problem will last for the duration of the time the car engine is running. Carrsmith is happy to offer the following free automotive repair advice to our customers in the Gainesville area who have a problem with a squeaking fan belt.

The Accessory Belt Drive Systems (ABDS) allow your engine to power systems you need like alternators, power steering, air conditioning, etc. Prior to 1917 engine drive belts were made of flat, heavy leather strips like, well... a belt. In 1917 by John Gates, of the Gates Rubber Company, designed the "Endless V-belt." Endless rubber V-belts were the standard until the late 1970's when there was a switch to "neoprene multi-rib serpentine belts" designed by Jim Vance of Gates Rubber. The 1979 Ford Mustang was the first vehicle equipped with a neoprene multi-rib serpentine belt. That basic design remains today. However, a notable change occurred in 2000 when the material switched from neoprene to Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EDPM). This new material has doubled belt life from 50,000 miles to 100,000 miles. However, since this newer material lasts longer it has different wear characteristics, which has changed the way we check belts for wear. We used to determine older neoprene belts were due for service by observing cracks in the belt material. To determine a belt is at the end of its life cycle we now measure depth of the belt grooves much the same as we measure tire tread because those belt grooves are designed to shed rainwater similar to the way tire treads do. If your belt is squeaking, it could be the "treads" on your belt are wearing low and causing the belt to slip on the pulleys, indicating it's time for a new belt.

Carrsmith always stresses to our customers in the Gainesville area with a squealing fan belt that it is always important to be safe when working around an engine and turning off the engine is the best bet when checking a serpentine belt.