The serpentine belt is one long, snaking, winding belt that keeps your alternator, power steering pump, air conditioning and—in some cases—your water pump running smoothly and effectively.
There are two belts you need to be familiar with when talking about car maintenance — the serpentine belt and the timing belt. The serpentine belt winds through your engine and carries power to several key components, including the alternator, air conditioning, and power steering pump.
Worn/Cracked Serpentine Belt – Serpentine belts have grooves which fit into grooves in the pulleys. Over time, the friction wears down these grooves, resulting in a loose fit. A worn belt can, therefore, begin to slip, which is one of the causes the squeal. Alternatively, cracks can cause the belt to snap.
The short answer is yes, your car will start even if the serpentine belt is broken or missing. To get the car going, the battery sends power to your starter motor. … However, you do need your serpentine belt if you want the car to run for longer than a few minutes.
It sounds as if your alternator belt is a bit loose and is slipping. That’s what makes the squealing sound you’re hearing. Your alternator is a belt-driven electrical generator, about the size of a small cantaloupe, and is located to one side of the front of the engine.
WD-40 is a water displacement lubricant and should remove the moisture from the belt ribs. In most cases, removing the moisture will stop the squeal. Allow the engine to run for a few minutes, then spray rubber dressing, also known as belt dressing, onto the belt in the same manner employed above.
For the unfortunate souls who realize that this vital part of the vehicle is failing, how long will a car run without an alternator and what can you do to elongate the vehicle’s ability to function? Without this essential component, your car will only function for up to two hours and as little as five minutes.
In this situation, the battery could last as little as 30 minutes. If you are lucky and could get up to two hours. Note: In case you have to start the car without an alternator, don’t turn off the engine once you’re going. Starting the car flattens the battery down quickly.
75 – 80 miles sounds pretty good. If your alternator crapped out it might be cheaper to buy a battery and charge the one in the car to get home, depending on the distance, and then install the spare alternator once you got the car home. Might save a tow charge if your stuck on the side of a highway.
Dear Anthony: A belt should never be over-tightened. … An over-tightened belt can burn out any bearing that the belt rotates on, including alternator, power steering pump, A/C compressor, idler pulleys, etc. An over-tightened timing belt can ruin any pulley bearing it is connected with.
The timing belt is responsible for making sure the engine’s crankshaft, pistons, and valves operating insync or in time. … The drive belt is responsible for using the engine’s revolutions to drive the power steering pump, a/c compressor, alternator, water pump, and other belt driven accessories.
Adjust the belt tension as needed with the pry bar until there is no more than a 1/2 inch of slack in the belt. Tighten the remaining accessory bolts with the ratchet and socket. Crank the engine and let it run for about one minute. Turn the engine off and recheck the tension on the belt with your hand.
Replacing an alternator belt is fairly easy; all you need to get started are the right tools. As always, when starting on a project, it is always a good idea to practice precaution. Make sure that the key is out of the ignition and that the negative battery cable is disconnected before you start.
Grinding or squeaking noise from the belts or tensioner
The most common symptom of a bad or failing drive belt tensioner is noise from the belts or tensioner. If the tensioner is loose the belts may squeak or squeal, especially when the engine is first started.
When the tensioner or tensioner pulley fails, the loss of tension can cause the belt and pulleys to make high-pitched rattling or chirping noises. If the pulley bearing completely fails, it can also cause a squealing or even a grinding noise.
Driving with a bad belt tensioner is unsafe since the tensioner is meant to guarantee ample tension that powers accessories. Wear on the belt tensioner will eventually cause the belt to slip, generate loud noise, and also create an unsafe level of heat along the accessory pulleys.
An alternator’s bearings can become worn and create noises, including a squeal. … To test for worn bearings, remove the belt and turn the pulley by hand. If noises are heard or the pulley does not turn smoothly, the bearings are worn and the alternator should be replaced.
Your engine belts make a screech or squeal noise usually because the rubber belt is slipping on the metal pulley and just like your tires spinning on the road, this causes noise. The belt may be slipping due to improper tension or because it simply has gotten old and the surface has become glazed, cracked or brittle.
You wouldn’t want to clean the alternator with WD40, as it would weaken the winding insulation. … Again, spraying WD40 directly to the alternator may ruin it, as the liquid may get to spots where it shouldn’t get to and cause harm.
If you’re hearing a grinding sound in your car, this could indicate that the alternator is going bad. The grinding sound may be caused by a worn-out bearing. Your car can also make a whining sound when the voltage regulator is sending signals to the alternator to charge more than is necessary.
What Makes Your Vehicle Squeal when Starting. Most of the time, the squealing is do to something called a serpentine belt. When you open your hood, it’s the incredibly long belt that winds around multiple pulleys. It connects the crankshaft to other systems like the alternator, power steering, AC, and water pump.
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