Can You Lubricate A Serpentine Belt?

Can You Lubricate A Serpentine Belt?

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Can You Lubricate A Serpentine Belt?

But it’s not advisable. However, it’s not uncommon for rubber belts to be sprayed with belt conditioner or belt dressing to prevent them from slipping.

When you apply bet dressing on rubber belts, it prevents them from drying out and slipping.

While the application of a lubricant like WD-40 on your squeaking belt might temporarily fix the problem, it won’t solve it permanently.

Therefore, I do not recommend the use of lubricants on any rubber product, including your serpentine belt.

No, In reality, it’s not a good practice to spray your serpentine belt with any lubricant, WD-40, or even water.The truth is that motor oil can damage a serpentine belt. Additionally, this might cause damage to the belt in the long run.

Therefore, if you have an oil leak that you consider a hidden blessing since it somehow lubricates the belt, you are courting trouble. What you need to do is immediately fix the leak.

From a general perspective, even belt dressing is considered inappropriate and a lipstick treatment to underlying problems with your belt.

This is because EPDM-made belts will deteriorate in quality as you continue using belt dressing and other oils and solvents.

But do not misunderstand me; you will still get some relief, although temporary, from the noise.

What Can Cause My Serpentine Belt To Snap While Driving

There might be several reasons you hear squealing noises when you drive, to the extent that at times the belt snaps while driving.

If your serpentine belt produces a squealing noise, it’s susceptible to snap anytime.

In most circumstances, squeaking noise will be persistent when you are turning your car, making it feel as if its genesis is from the front of your vehicle (below the hood or from the engine bay).

So, if you hear such a squeal, it’s from either your drive belt or serpentine belt.

Unfortunately, the squeaky belt noise that will make your belt snap while driving will also become louder as you get rougher with your gas pedal or if you decide to make a U-Turn.

Again, humidity or rain will also make it even worse. What’s more, other systems will start to struggle, including the water pump, the alternator, the power steering pump, etc.

Consider the fact that if your engine overheats, making a rattling or squeaking noise, it’s more likely that the water pump is failing since your serpentine belt powers it.

Consequently, if you have a failing and overheating water pump, you might be facing a failing belt that can snap anytime as you drive.  

Can A Bad Water Pump Cause The Serpentine Belt To Come Off?

Yes. A bad water pump will easily cause a serpentine belt to come off. Several issues can lead to slipping, including a weak automatic tensioner (or a loss of belt tension) or pulley misalignment.

Should the belt slip off the track, there will be overheating due to the friction between the accessory drive pulleys and the belt.

But in normal circumstances, serpentine belt problems result from either one or two of three causes:

Misalignment of a pulley; a defective belt tensioner; or, defective bearings in the tensioner and idler, or even on one of the accessories driven by the belt like the water pump.

Again, if there are issues like excessive cracking, your serpentine belt could come off.

When the serpentine belt breaks, there will be a sudden loss of power assist for your steering system.

Consequently, your steering wheel will all-of-a-sudden become very hard to turn.

If you are one of those guys who have ever driven old-age cars that didn’t have power steering, this might not be a severe problem!

But there will be other serious problems as the water pump stops circulating the coolant or antifreeze through the cooling system, overheating the engine.

Can An Oil Leak Cause A Serpentine Belt To Break?

Yes, If you have an oil leak that leaks on the belt, your serpentine belt can break. However, I need to point out that not all oil leaks will make your serpentine belt come off.

If the oil leak does not touch the belt, it will not affect the belt.

If your serpentine belt breaks, you don’t have any choice but to replace it.

But before I delve into that, let me point out that in addition to oil leaks, factors like aging, faulty components, and wear will be the most common causes that will bring about a broken serpentine belt.

But the severity of the effects will depend on the material used in making the serpentine belt.

Generally, some belts will last up to 50,000 miles, but others enjoy a lifespan of up to 100,000 miles.

With a broken serpentine belt, every component in a car will fail after some time.

This is the reason you need to stick with maintenance and servicing to ensure every component stays in good shape.

This is due to the various components that depend on the serpentine belt(Amazon Link). By now, you know it’s interconnected with several other pulleys.

What Happens If Oil Gets On The Serpentine Belt?

As I have alluded to, if oil gets on your serpentine belt, you are going to experience trouble with several components in your car.

These problems might be directly related to the serpentine belt, while others will be indirectly related.

If oil gets on your serpentine belt and you do not get it cleaned immediately, you can be sure of real problems with multiple components in your car.

Indeed, the best thing you can do is to deal with that oil before it takes time and exacts a toll on your car.

Oil on a pulley or a serpentine belt will cause the rubber to degrade over time and make it come off.

Again, it’s not uncommon for degraded serpentine belt rubber to swell, making it unfitting in the pulleys. So, you will want to wipe any oil slick under your car.

Luckily, modern engines from the 1970s are exempt. But to be sure, it’s better to avoid oil on your serpentine belt. If you have oil on the belt, it can cause a slip in the belt.

And a slipping steering wheel might become difficult to turn. This results from the loss of power steering, as I have mentioned. This puts you at risk as you drive.

Will The Serpentine Belt Make Noise?

Yes, A serpentine belt can make noise. But this will depend on other factors as we have already seen.

For instance, a newly installed serpentine belt might make noise as a sign of a problem within your engine’s front-end drive system.

And you might want to know that a serpentine belt noise needs to be taken as seriously as a “check engine,” as both indicate that something is wrong with your belt drive system.

Interestingly, the belt will not always be the culprit. Indeed, many times, the problem will have its origin elsewhere.

The most common serpentine belt noises are squeals and chirps. Both of these noises result from different issues within your car’s front-end drive system.

A serpentine chirp is a series of sharp and intermittent “rhythmic” sounds. The belt’s pitch and volume remain constant; hence, there will be a continued belt chirp when accelerating.

When it comes to a squeal, this is a high-pitched noise that will last for only a few seconds. While it may change in volume as you accelerate, its pitch remains the same.

What Does It Mean When Your Serpentine Belt Squeals?

Technically, your serpentine belt is supposed to be running whenever your internal combustion engine is running.

This belt is designed for the provision of mechanical power to the car’s power steering, the pump, air conditioning compressor, your car’s alternator, and other needed peripheral accessories.

And because one of the signs that your serpentine belt is going bad is strange noises, if you hear them coming from your engine area, you might be staring at a worn-out serpentine belt.

And cold weather is not known for friendliness to the serpentine belt. Indeed, colder temperatures exacerbate them.

With the problems getting worse, the noises will automatically get louder and even more annoying.

It’s indisputable that cold weather causes squeals and squeaks from any number of components in your car.

And if the noises are not being directly made by these noises, the noises might be coming from one of the engine accessories.

I am talking of the accessories powered by the serpentine belt powers transmitting mechanical energy to them.

Therefore, when cold temperatures make your serpentine belt’s job harder, know that the other accessories may also malfunction and start making strange noises themselves.

Can A Cheap Serpentine Belt Squeal?

Yes. But even an expensive serpentine belt can squeal. What matters is the quality, as crafty resellers will sell poor quality at a high price.

As you know, there are several pulleys fitted in front of your car.

They happen to be belt-driven components, functioning properly through the distribution of mechanical force by the serpentine belt.

But should the pulleys on the belt drive go bad, you can be sure of squeaky noises.

And if you are experiencing a squealing noise after replacing the belt, then you might have installed a poor-quality serpentine belt, meaning you will have to pay for this.

Several reasons why your serpentine belt gives squealing noise even after replacement. One reason is that the belt is tensioned using a hydraulic belt tensioner.

The tensioner is controlled using a little shock absorber working like a spring-loaded tensioner.

As the tensioner starts failing, it will cause the belt to squeal when turning, although this will mostly happen when the engine is idling.

Therefore a bad or a failing Hydraulic belt tensioner will affect the serpentine belt and lead to a squealing noise.

Why Is My Belt Squealing When I Accelerate?

A squealing noise is one of the commonest signs of a loose or worn belt. Generally, your car’s engine belts will become worn over time, causing them to stretch.

If this happens and you press the gas pedal, the belt goes from a low speed (from idle or when starting the car) to a higher speed during engine acceleration, the belt will squeak.

This happens when it stretches on the pulleys on the engine when the pulleys turn faster than what the belt can handle when it’s loose against the pulley.

This also happens in very cold weather conditions as rubber belts mostly become slightly brittle and less pliable in such weather.

If this is your case, it’s advisable to have a professional mechanic tighten or replace your belts.

A crack can cause a squealing noise. The serpentine belt will slip during acceleration if it’s dry or glazed, making a squealing sound.

Again, if any of the pulleys on the alternator and p/s pump are loose or worn, they will cause the belt to squeal.

But as I mentioned, a certified mechanic will do a good job determining the cause of the sound and have it addressed or fixed.

Can A Serpentine Belt Make A Whining Noise?

Yes, A serpentine belt will make a whining noise due to several factors.

Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons you can feel that your day is ruined as you start hearing a whining noise coming from under the hood.

This happens as you drive, noises that come in all pitches and frequencies. And you might be clueless regarding where it originated.

Indeed, if the noises are prominent enough, these noises can be quite maddening as well as significantly frustrating to diagnose.

When trying to diagnose the cause of the noise, it’s needful to pay extreme attention to detail.

Although there is a rather large number of causes of your vehicle’s whining noise, some of which are heard by many motorists on an annual basis.

They are easily identifiable during acceleration.

The causes can be internal transmission issues, damaged water pump bearings, worn alternator bearings, low power steering fluid, tensioner/idler pulley issues, a faulty A/C compressor, a dry, cracked, or slipping serpentine belt, among others.


A serpentine belt will snap while driving if the tension is less or the belt becomes faulty or dry.

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