Fan belts in a car are one of the essential pieces inside the hood of your vehicle. It connects vital parts, the crankshaft pulley, and the alternator to the engine’s cooling system. Taking care of your belt can seem difficult if you aren’t a car junky, it can seem incredibly daunting to pick up the hood of your car and inspect it.
There are specific steps you can do to maintain your fan belt. When a fan belt is secured or healthy-looking, it can expand the life of your car to a few extra years. Familiar problems car owners face is a squeaky fan belt, there is an easy fix for this! Bar soap can be rubbed on the fan belt to solve the squeaking problem.
How to apply soap to the fan belt
One way to stop belt squeaking that does not require a soap is a kit that is called belt dressing. It can be purchased at any auto shop; however, soap is a great way to fix a squeaking belt if you can’t get to the car shop.
Turning off your engine is the very first step, do not let the engine sit and run while you apply soap to your car. You will take your bar of soap, and use a few rubs over areas of the belt. Get the main areas of the belt, where you can see and reach easily, and that’s all it takes!
Your fan belt squeaks because it is usually slipping on the metal pulley. It is a horrible sound and may sound alarming to you, but a little soap will go a long way to help the noise. It could also be your fan belt is misaligned, and this can also cause it to squeak.
All cars have a fan belt
Even the most high-tech cars have accessory belts, all vehicles have them, they are vital for a running car. Though they may be called different names depending on the vehicle and the mechanic. Some of these names include:
- Accessory drive belt
- Serpentine belt
- Alternator belt
- Timing belt
These belts are required for running and operating the pulleys inside of your car. Most belts can easily be replaced if worn out. It is often meant to be changed throughout a car’s life. It helps control when the engine runs, and the time it takes to work the car as a hole from under the hood.
How to tell if your fan belt needs to be change
Now we know how to fix a fan belt if it is squeaking, but how can you know when you need to replace the whole thing? There are five ways to tell if you may need to replace your fan belt:
- The steering wheel– If the steering wheel becomes hard to turn, there is a good chance that you need a new fan belt. As the belt loses its grip, it becomes harder to turn your steering wheel. When the fan belt starts losing its slip, it doesn’t control the water pump anymore. The water pump helps control the steering. So, in a way, it’s compensating the lack of help from the water pump, and in return, making it hard for you to steer.
- The car doesn’t start– When your belt is about to go, it won’t be able to turn the alternator consistently, which can sometimes mean your vehicle will not start.
- Dim lights– When the fan belt in your car is about to go, there could be dim lights when you turn on your car.
- Overheated engine– At first, it may get hotter by a few degrees, but as the belt gets worse, your vehicle can overheat.
- When it starts to hiss– When it starts to scream, even after you apply soap, it is time to get a new belt and replace it.
Other noises your belt can make
There could be squeaking if you need to adjust your fan belt, replace it, or need to put a few layers of bar soap on it, but there can also be other noises. The squeaking noise is by far the worst noise and a very concerning sound for any car owner. However, there are a few other noises to listen for as well, such as flapping and ticking.
- Flapping– This is when the belt breaks completely or has giant frays in it. This is another sign you need to replace your belt immediately to preserve your car’s life.
- Ticking– The ticking sound happens when pieces of the belt are hitting other things in the object. This usually happens when the belt needs to be replaced before it gets worse.
How much should a belt cost?
Every mechanic is different, and every price may vary. Some states don’t have taxes for these services others do, so it’s vital always to call your mechanic and ask for an estimate. This being said, most of the time, it is relatively budget-friendly to take your car to a mechanic and replace your belt that way.
Labor costs are estimated between $57-$73 while the actual belt itself costs $55-$68. There are many benefits of having your mechanic do this process instead of doing it on your own. For instance, you save time and the hassle of doing it yourself. It is done correctly without you having to do the dirty work.
The final piece of advice
If you hear your car making a squeaking noise, pop the hood and try the bar soap method. It could save you loads of time and money. However, if it is still making noises, check your belt for damage and inspect the functions of your vehicle to see if it is time to get a new one. After that, decide if going to your mechanic is the right choice for you.
If you do decide to do this on your own, make sure you read your cars manual to find out exactly what steps to take for this project. Be sure to schedule an appropriate amount of time to change your fan belt alone. Also, be sure to do the proper amount of research before beginning.