If you hear a squeaking noise when the engine is running, you might not have to replace the serpentine belt or a pulley. This guide and video shows a few tips you can try to fix a squealing serpentine belt before replacing it.
How to Make the Serpentine Belt Stop Squeaking and Squealing
Steps to stop a squeaky or squealing serpentine belt
- Remove the Serpentine Belt
Before you remove the serpentine belt, look for a diagram on the radiator support or under the hood. Manufacturers usually leave a sticker with a diagram of the serpentine belt. If you can’t find a diagram, draw one of the belt path.
To remove the serpentine belt, most of the time you just need to loosen the tensioner pulley with a 3/8” drive ratchet and slide the belt off from the pulleys.
- Clean the Pulleys and Serpentine Belt with Carburetor Cleaner
Spray the serpentine belt and the flat and splined pulleys with carburetor cleaner. Carburetor cleaner will clean grease and grime from the pulleys and the belt, and it will evaporate quickly. Spray all of the pulleys.
- Clean the Grooved Pulleys with a Stiff-Bristled Brush
Use a stiff-bristled or soft-wired cleaning brush to clean the grooved pulleys. Spray the pulleys with cleaner and brush them as they spin, spraying more cleaner as needed.
- Clean the Smooth Pulleys with Steel Wool
Use steel wool to clean the smoother pulleys. Spin the pulleys and spray them with carburetor cleaner as needed.
- Reinstall the Serpentine Belt
Using the diagram on the vehicle or the one that you made, weave the serpentine belt into the correct positions on the pulleys, pull the tensioner, and secure the serpentine belt into place.
If cleaning the pulleys and serpentine belt with carburetor cleaner doesn’t fix the squeaking or squealing, you may have to replace the serpentine belt or a pulley.
Learn How to Fix More than a Squealing Serpentine Belt on Your Car
Our how-to videos have instructions and tips from professional mechanics to help you fix and replace parts on many makes and models.
More Expert Tips
- What Type of Headlights Do I Have?
- How to Clean an Engine Bay
- What Are the Different Types of Side View Mirrors?
- What Does an Alternator Do?