Common Signs Your Drive Belt Is Misaligned | YourMechanic Advice

Common Signs Your Drive Belt Is Misaligned

Drive belt problems usually manifest as noise. If you have a noisy drive belt, it’s important to know what’s causing it so that it can be fixed. That means you have to listen. If the drive belt or serpentine belt is chirping or squealing, then chances are that the problem is misalignment.

Noises that indicate your drive belt may be misaligned

So, what is the difference between a chirp and a squeal? A chirp is a repetitive, high-pitched noise that doesn’t last long, and is usually worse when the engine is idling. As the speed of the serpentine belt or drive belt increases, it will probably become nearly inaudible. A squeal, on the other hand, is a chirp that gets louder and increases in volume along with engine speed.

Chirping can be due to misalignment of the drive belt, but could also be due to pulley misalignment, worn pulley bearings, worn belt ribs, contamination from oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake cleaner, belt dressing, or other substances.

Squealing is usually caused by slipping between the belt and the pulleys. This can be due to idler drag, low installation tension, belt wear, degradation of the tensioner spring, a belt that’s too long, seized bearings, or contaminants of the same type that cause chirping.

Additionally, if the belt is wet from getting splashed, it could lose traction. This is often a tensioning problem.

Professional mechanics can quickly distinguish between chirping and squealing, and can correct the misalignment if that is the cause. Of course noise in the belts could be an indication of other problems, so you should have a mechanic check out the noise and recommend a course of action.


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Mazyar

7 years of experience
315 reviews
Mazyar
7 years of experience
Mitsubishi Galant - Oil Change - Snellville, Georgia
Marvelous job done by Mazyar on my car. He was friendly and does not mind if you watch him perform the job. He will even show you what he is doing and how. He too will show you if he finds a problem with the vehicle so you can see for yourself. I say this because he was only supposed to change the oil and filter but I told him about a noise I keep hearing in the suspension. He inspected the suspension while he was underneath the car and came to find out it was the stabilizer bar links. He was patient at finding the issue and never rushed through it just because it was not part of the service. This shows me that he indeed cares about the customer and its vehicle and does not mind doing extra, as long as the customer is satisfied with his work and and all questions are answered. I will sure be using him for future services.
Porsche 911 - Oil Change - Douglasville, Georgia
Mazyars what can I say the consummate professional. He has worked on my 2001 911 turbo several times. He is awesome and you can tell he enjoys what he does. Very very satisfied. Will call on him anytime to work on my vehicles.

Nazareth

26 years of experience
181 reviews
Nazareth
26 years of experience
Nissan Altima - Oil Change - Tujunga, California
Nazareth was prompt, friendly and efficient. He had an earlier cancellation and called to offer an earlier appointment. He is very knowledgeable and wiling to take the time to explain things in detail with no jargon. He offered a detailed explanation of my car's condition and additional repair items required. I'm a former auto mechanic from the 1970's and I can say that I'm very pleased with the service Nazareth provided.

Chuck

9 years of experience
216 reviews
Chuck
9 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala - Oil Change - Dallas, Texas
Chuck did a good job! He showed up about 20 minutes earlier than scheduled on a Thanksgiving and completed the full service oil change within one hour. Great communication skills as well .

Eduardo

18 years of experience
426 reviews
Eduardo
18 years of experience
BMW 740i - Oil Change - Houston, Texas
Eduardo is always very professional and prompt! He does an awesome job with every service request to my vehicle. I will trust him with all my required repairs and services.

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