When To Replace The Fan Belt On My Car?

when to replace fan beltI have an Ford Taurus that needs it’s V-belt replaced. I am not exactly sure what that is, how urgent the repairs are needed, or what to expect in terms of cost of repairs. Is this a major repair job? Thanks you in advance for your response

Hello there

This is the rubber belt that drives all the accessories of the engine, like air conditioner, power steering, water pump, alternator etc. I don’t think you have an actual V belt, you should have a serpentine fan belt, and you might have two of them. If you were told that you have some cracks in the belt…open the hood and see if you see these cracks yourself.

Just because you have some cracks does not mean you have to replace the belts NOW. I have only seen one belt break due to cracks in my 20 year career. The belts are tough, and usually do not break leaving you stranded. If you have two belts you might be looking at $180 parts and labor to replace them…but if you just have some small cracks you don’t have to run out and replace them NOW if you don’t have the funds.

What can happen (besides the rare chance of breaking) is the cracks and wear on the belt cause it to make weird noises, like chirping. If that happens you need to replace the belt, nothing you can spray on it or adjust it will make the noise go away.

Since we are now talking about noises, sometimes the belt tensioner will weaken causing the belt to jump up and down and make a vibration type of noise…and sometimes you can actually feel the vibration inside the vehicle. If you can see the belt flopping up and down with the engine running, you might need a new belt tensioner.

At the top of this picture, you will see a shiny pulley, that is the tensioner. Click to enlarge


Here is a good video about fan belt noises, take a watch now.

Hope this helps

2 Comments on "When To Replace The Fan Belt On My Car?"

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  1. Palo says:

    Mr Austin, I have a few small cracks in my serpentine belt should I go ahead and replace it now or wait until I need to do some other bigger repairs? Thanks bro

    • By Austin Davis says:

      You can wait. I have really only seen a very small amount of actual broken serpentine belts (break due to just wear on the belt itself) in my shop. they are really tough and seem to last a very long time. If you are planning to replace the radiator hoses or doing some other repair in the near future you can wait and do it at the same time.

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