2 Signs of a Bad Fan Belt

There’s nothing worse than listening to the squealing of a fan belt. If the noise cuts through the air like a siren, it could just be loose, but it could also be a sign that it about to break. Read on to learn how to check the tightness and the teeth of the fan belt to determine whether you need to replace it.

1 - Tightness

Make sure the engine is off and cold before you start. Engines generate a great deal of heat, and you could burn yourself on a heated part. Open the hood of your vehicle and locate the fan belt. You should find it easily enough because it runs through a bunch of pulley wheels and around the alternator.

At its tautest point, press down on the fan belt. It should have about 1 inch of give, but no more. If it is loose, you need to adjust the bar that holds it to the alternator and pull it back until the fan belt is tighter. If the fan belt still squeals, look at other possibilities.

2 – Teeth

Fan belts are flat on the top side but they have ridges on the underside. Those ridges will start to break down after continued use. The average life cycle of a fan belt is about 75,000 miles. If your fan belt is making a noise, check the teeth ridges on the underside and make sure none are missing. If there are gaps in the belt, you will find the teeth ridges slip and that is what causes the squealing. Replace the fan belt at the earliest chance.