How To Know If You Have A Loose Fan Belt?
The fan belt is probably the simplest component of a vehicle’s A/C system. Strangely though, most car owners often have a problem troubleshooting it. So, just how exactly can you know whether the belt is loose? The most common sign is noise, which can range from a barely audible squeak coming from the bonnet to a piercing squeal. Whichever the case, ignoring the noise is never a good idea. If the problem is not deal with on time, the loose belt can damage vital engine components. But is noise the only way to tell if your fan belt is loose? Are there other signs? Read on to find out.
Understanding How the Fan Belt Works
The belt connects the air conditioning compressor clutch to the car engine crankshaft. This allows the compressor to be turned on through the engine’s power anytime you ignite the car. As with nearly all automotive belts, the fan belt will either be a serpentine or a V shaped. A V shaped belt is narrower and is shaped like the letter V as the name suggests. It connects only two components. A serpentine belt, on the other hand, is flat and ribbed. Either way, the belts will always display signs that will alert the driver that something is wrong immediately they become loose or they begin failing.
Important Signs to Note
- Squealing noise when the A/C is on: This is perhaps one of the most common signs that you have a loose fan belt. The squealing noise may also be a sign that you have oil or water contamination. The noise usually means that the belt can no longer grip the pulleys properly.
- Cracks in the belt: It is easy to understand why this happens. The longer a fan belt has been serviced, the more likely it will succumb to the wear and tear. This mostly happens because of the heat it had been exposed to. An old fan belt will not grip well and will be susceptible to sudden breaks than a newer fan belt. You may not notice this, unless you inspect your A/C regularly.
- AC belt breaks: Belt snapping is yet another common symptom that a fan belt is loose. Old belts will snap from time to time simply because they have been weakened by service and age. You will notice a belt has snapped anytime the A/C fails to run when activated. Fix this as soon as you can. A brief visual inspection will be enough to help you notice this anomaly.
- Inability to defrost the windshield: Defrosters in some vehicles are directly connected to the A/C system. That means that the A/C compressor must be in good condition for the defroster to work. It the belt slips or if it snaps, then that is a sure sign that the belt is loose. The A/C compressor will therefore fail to work just as the defroster will.
Take time to inspect your A/C system on a regular basis. Then fix any glitch as soon as you can. Keep in mind too that it is always a good idea to hire a skilled technician to fix any A/C related problem.