An alternator is a paramount part of a vehicle’s engine system, the reason is that it transfers power from the engine down to the alternator, which in turn generates electricity to operate the electrical systems of the vehicle and also recharge the battery.
In this process, the belt might start making some squeaky noise being a fact of wear and tear or better still alignment problems. Once this happens, it signifies that the belt needs adjustment or needs to be replaced. It can also signify that there is a more serious issue at hand, such as a failing belt or alternator.
So therefore, if you are driving and all of a sudden you hear a noise, do not get yourself worked up, because in this article I will share with you the causes of an alternator belt and how to stop the noise.
Let’s get started!
Various Reasons For Alternator Belt Noises & How To Stop Sound?
There are so many reasons why your alternator belt does cause a noise, especially during operation but I will be sharing with you ways that you can put an end to this issue.
One of the reasons is that it is caused by wrong belt tension and the only way to put to stop to the sound is by adjusting the tension.
Displacement of the alternator and Crankshaft pulleys is also part of the reason why the alternator belt does make a noise when driving, and the only solution to this issue is by making sure of aligning the pulleys along a single guide.
Failure of the alternator bearings is also part of the reason why your alternator belt does make a noise and one way to put a stop to this sound is by replacing the worn-out bearings.
Lastly, contact of the lubricant fluid together with the pulley or the belt itself is also part of the reason why your alternator belt does make a noise, so the best way to eliminate it, is by removing the industrial oil that is remaining.
It is very paramount to take a thorough look at this issue of your alternator belt making a noise while driving, if been overlooked it can cause damage to your vehicle so I will advise that once this issue arises, you should fix it immediately just to avoid further damage.
What Does A Bad Alternator Belt Sound Like?
In this scenario, we have different forms that can cause bad alternator belt to make a noise, but the most two common are squeals and chirps of which both of them is the result of issues with the front-end system.
Basically, if you notice a squealing noise, it simply means that the alternator belt is worn out, and If not replaced, It can cause a high-pitched screening sound, this happens when the engine accelerates.
We have the whirring noise, this happens when the alternator belt is damaged and if not replaced or fix, and it will cause loud noise while the engine RPMs increase. That’s it.
What Causes Alternator Belt Noise?
In my research, I have been able to provide a solution based on this issue. And I have found out about the two main causes of why your alternator belt does make a noise. Continue reading as you find this article more interesting.
One of the causes of why alternator belts do make noise is loss of tension in the drive and the other is misalignment.
Loss of tension in the drive: this happens when there is a squealing belt at the start-up of the engine, it simply means that there is improper tension in the belt drive system and it causes by a worn automatic tensioner, but there is also other causes such as contaminated belt like the oil and then the belt dressing or if the belt is worn out, it will definitely cause the belt to slip, of which it will generate heat that will lead to premature failure of the belts, pulleys and together with other parts of bearings.
But the solution to this issue is that you should always look out when the belt is making a noise, that is if it is worn out, then quickly replaced it. And also if the belt is contaminated then replace it also.
Misalignment: this is caused by a chirping belt, which indicates that there is an alignment issue between the components that are found in the drive. If the alignment is not positioned properly it can cause the belt to chirp and the belt will ribs slide down at one side of the pulley.
The solution is to take notice if you hear the belt chirp, quickly rectify the issues by making sure to correct the misalignment, and then make use of a laser alignment tool.
How Do I Stop My Alternator Belt From Making Noise?
There are so many ways to stop the noise coming out from your alternator belt especially when driving. And I will be sharing some of the tips with you. Simply follows these and it will solve the issue with your alternator belt making a noise when you drive.
- Tightening the belt and making sure to check the tension of the alternator belt, that is if it is loose, and then try adjusting it because if ignored, it can cause a slip and a noise.
- By inspecting the belt and always looking out for the belt just in case there is any damage or signs of wear, the reason is that, if the belt is cracked or frayed you might need to replace it.
- Make use of a recommended lubricant for your belt. Always apply at the necessary areas, with that, it can decrease the noise and also the life of the belt.
- Also, look out for the misalignment of the belt, because if it is not aligned correctly with the pulley, it can cause a squeaky noise.
Lastly, if any of these steps mentioned above did not fix the issues, then the alternator belt simply needs a replacement.
Can I Drive With A Squeaky Alternator Belt?
I will say to you that it is advisable or recommendable to drive with your squeaky alternator belt but for an extended period of time. Once you notice the squeaky signs then quickly replaced the belt just for your safety. And also, the earlier you repair it, the better for you and it will cause you to avoid other further problems.
Can Alternator Belt Damage Engine?
Of course yes! The alternator belt assists by providing power to cool off the engine of a vehicle, so therefore if the belt is faulty, it can cause damage to the engine of which, if the engine starts to overheat and the water pump won’t turn, and It affects the performance of the alternator and cause more problems to the electrical system. So I will be advised that you have a skilled mechanic to look into it, but if overlooked, it can cause a breakdown and the engine to overheat.
How Do I Know If I Need A New Alternator Belt?
It’s very important to take notice of your alternator belt especially when driving. In this situation, you will notice a squeaking and squeaking noise when driving down the highway, so it is very important to quickly replace the alternator belt with a new one once you notice these signs. But there are other signs too such as tension, warning light, and crack in the belt. And this happens when the belt is been exposed for a long period of time or even when it starts to twist.
Lastly, I will recommend that you take your alternator belt to a skilled mechanic to take a look as soon as possible once you notice any of the above-mentioned signs.
Is It Safe To Drive With A Noisy Alternator?
Normally, I will not advise driving with a noisy alternator belt. But if your battery is fully charged then you drive with a bad alternator belt. But there’s also a risk because there is every possibility that running or driving with a noisy alternator can cause damage to other components and it will result in the alternator not functioning very well, which it can cause the battery to run out quickly and the engine to stall thereby leaving stranded on the way.
So therefore, once you notice a noisy alternator, I will advise you to have a mechanic look into it just to rectify the issues for your safety while driving.
How Long Can You Drive With A Squeaky Alternator Belt?
In this situation, you can drive for an extended period of time, but the maximum period given as I made my research based on this issue is a period of two weeks. You can go ahead to drive for the period of two weeks with your squeaky belt but take notice of not leaving it for a long while to replace it. It’s better to replace it early, it will help to prevent any further damage to the parts of your electrical systems.
Can I Put WD 40 On A Squeaky Belt?
Absolutely no! it is recommendable to use WD-40 lubricant on a squeaky belt, the reason is that it will damage the belt and cause more problems. It is a water spray that is used for rubber belts while it will temporarily quieten the squeak, this alone can cause the rubber to deteriorate and then crack and it will lead to breakdown. So therefore it is not advisable.
In this article, I have been able to let you know about the various causes of why your alternator belt does make noise and also how to put an end to the sound.
So therefore, identifying the problems on your own is very paramount especially once you take notice of these signs such as a loose or worn-out belt, misalignment, belt tension or idler pulley, and a faulty alternator. Don’t overlook all these issues once you notice them. The reason is that these issues can’t be put to stop if the problem that causes these issues is not rectified.
In other words, fixing it or putting a stop to it won’t be a problem for you. So try making sure that the problem is identified and you can follow the above steps to put a stop to the sound that comes out from your alternator belt while driving. Look out for the alignment, the lubricant of the belt, and tightening of the belt with other parts of the vehicle engine, it will save you from further damage if fixed early enough.