Serpentine belts usually result from a misalignment or a defective tensioner. It might be hard to diagnose a problem just by listening but examining the belt itself can help you diagnose the problem- both before it’s removed and afterward.
Excessive cracking is usually caused by old age. Serpentine belts stretch with age and use; as time goes on, the rubber becomes dryer and less pliable making cracking more prevalent. However, cracking can also be caused by a defective tensioner. The tensioner is spring-loaded to keep the belt tight on the pulleys. If a belt starts slipping, the tensioner should always be checked to see if it is functioning properly.
Glazing on the edges, ridges, or grooves of the belt is caused by the belt slipping. Slipping can be the result of a loss of belt tension (or a weak automatic tensioner) or pulley misalignment. When the belt slips off the track, the friction between the belt and accessory drive pulleys causes the belt to overheat. If you hear a high pitched squealing noise, it’s probably time for a switch.
Fraying at the edge of a belt typically indicates misalignment of the pulleys. When the belt is not properly on the pulleys, the scrapes on the top edge of an accessory drive pulley side as the belt feeds into it, eventually causing the belt to fray. Diagnosing this is pretty easy- the wear on the edge of the belt is usually visible. You might hear a thumping or rubbing noise, as the belt rubs against the pulleys.
If you see noticeable wear on your serpentine belt or hear and unusual noises, come in to see us as soon as possible. We’ll help you diagnose the problem, make the necessary repairs, and work to prevent it from happening in the future. Plus, all of our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3 year / 36,000 mile warranty on parts and labor! Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.