Warning Signs of a Failing Belt

The belts in your vehicle provide power to key systems, like the cooling system, air conditioning, or power steering. But due to the demanding, high heat environment inside the engine, these rubber belts are subject to wear and tear. If they break while you are driving, you could be stuck without power to a critical system or stranded on the side of the road.

Possible signs that a belt may be failing or of belt damage include:

Squealing noise.

Misalignment of the belt can cause strange noises from the front of your vehicle. If the belt has slipped from it’s intended track, you may notice a squealing sound. Bring your vehicle into S&S Research for proper diagnosis. Our technicians can determine the cause of the noise and recommend appropriate steps to fix it and prevent damage. If the belt slips further, breaks, or falls off entirely, you may also experience the next symptom.

Power loss.

A failed belt can result in a loss of power to accessories. If the air conditioning stops working, it may be linked to a failing serpentine belt. Without power steering, your vehicle may be difficult to control. While you may be able to do without air conditioning, power steering loss can be a serious safety issue. If you notice systems that don’t have power, bring your vehicle in for an inspection and diagnostics.

Engine overheating.

The belt that operated the water pump can lead to cooling system failure. If the belt fails, the water pump will not turn. If you notice the temperature gauge rising suddenly, pull over and allow the engine to cool. Bring your vehicle into our Mukwonago auto repair shop (or call a towing company if you cannot drive safely) to have the cause of the overheating engine determined and repaired.

Wear and tear.

Cracks, abrasions, and damaged ribs are all signs of an aging belt that should be replaced. Because belts are found in several systems and connect multiple components, you may not be able to spot damage yourself. It is important to have your vehicle regularly inspected by a certified technician, like the ones at S&S Research.

Catching issues early is key to staying safe on the roads. Keep up with recommended preventative maintenance, including replacing the serpentine belt, timing belt, and alternator belt in your vehicle. To review your maintenance schedule or plan your next inspection, request an appointment online or call 262.968.3324.