Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Serpentine/Drive Belt

serpentine/drive belt

Bad or Failing Serpentine/Drive Belt Inspection

by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office

The serpentine belt, also known as the drive belt, works with the idler, tensioner, and pulleys inside the accessory drive belt system. It provides power for the air conditioning, alternator, power steering, and sometimes the cooling system water pump design. The serpentine belt is a critical part of this system, and once the engine is running, it continues to operate until the vehicle is shut off. Without the serpentine belt, the vehicle may not run at all.

As a general rule, the serpentine belt lasts up to 50,000 miles or five years before they need to be replaced. Some can even last for up to 80,000 miles without any problems, but consult the owner's manual for exact service interval. Yet, over time, the serpentine belt will fail because of the heat and friction it is subjected to every day, and have to be replaced. If you suspect your serpentine belt is failing, watch for the following symptoms:

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get an $80 diagnostic
by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

1. Squealing noise from the front of the vehicle

If you notice a squealing noise coming from the front of your vehicle, it could be from the serpentine belt. This could be due to a slippage or misalignment. The only way to make the noise go away is to contact a professional mechanic and have them replace the serpentine/drive belt or diagnose the issue.

2. Power steering and AC not working

If the serpentine belt completely fails and breaks, then your vehicle will break down. In addition, you will notice the loss of power steering, the air conditioning will not work, and the engine will no longer able to be cooled like it should be. Preventative maintenance is one way to make sure your belt does not break while you are driving it. If the power steering fails when the vehicle is moving it could cause serious safety issues.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get your car fixed at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

3. Engine overheating

Since the serpentine belt helps provide power to cool the engine, a failing belt can cause your engine to overheat as the water pump is not turning. As soon as your engine starts overheating, take your vehicle to a mechanic because it can lead to a breakdown and cause damage to your engine if it is left to keep overheating.

4. Cracks and wear on the belt

It is a good idea to physically inspect your serpentine belt from time to time. Check for cracks, chunks missing, abrasions, rib separation, uneven rib wear, and damaged ribs. If you notice any of these, it is time to replace your serpentine/drive belt.

As soon as you notice a squealing noise, loss of power steering, the engine overheating, or the belt looks bad, call a mechanic immediately to diagnose the problem further. YourMechanic makes getting repairs to your serpentine/drive belt easy by coming to your home or office to diagnose or fix issues.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...
P0359 OBD-II Trouble Code: Ignition Coil I Primary/Secondary Circuit Malfunction
P0359 code definition The P0359 code indicates that a fault has been detected in one of the vehicle’s ignition coils, generally the number 9 coil. This code can also be associated...


Related questions

Q: Squeaking/creaking noise when stopping at slow speeds

Open the hood and check if any belt pulleys or tensioner are making the sound. Remove the serpentine belt and spin all of the pulleys that you can move. If they do not have a sound to them, then the...

Q: Car squeals when started 2005 Hyundai Elantra

Hello - the squealing noise you describe is most likely caused by a worn serpentine (accessory) belt, a weak tensioner for that belt. This causes the belt to slip under a load, and squeal as you describe. This condition will...

Q: Thermostat not working

Hello. If a thermostat is completely stuck closed, then it does need to be replaced without driving the vehicle. If it is not opening then it will be very easy to overheat the engine. If you need to have this...