What is an inspection for loud squealing or squeaking coming from the timing belt?

Loud noises like squealing or squeaking are a clear sign that something is wrong. You may think the noise is coming from the timing belt, but even automotive experts can be deceived by sound alone. A mechanic will assess various parts of your vehicle to find the culprit:
  • Belts: Belts are one of the most important moving parts of your engine. The serpentine or V-belt must be perfectly fitted to the pulley. If it’s not, it could slip and produce a squeaking noise. If the belt is adjusted too tight, it may also produce a squealing noise.
  • Water pump pulley: This part connects the water pump system with the timing belt. If the bearings fail, they will seize up and make noise in the vicinity of the timing belt cover. Without repair, this could lead to an overheated engine.
  • Pulley alignment: Pulleys must be correctly aligned, otherwise they will allow for extra wear and tear to the belts and shafts. Squeaking or squealing can be heard near the timing belt cover if a pulley is misaligned.

How to get a belt and pulley inspection

Your belts and pulleys need to be inspected to determine the source of the squeaking. Mechanics will listen to the noise and then they may take a closer look at:
  • Belts (serpentine or V-belt)
  • Water pump pulley
  • Pulley alignment
Call a garage and explain that your car is squealing or squeaking. Describe specific sounds if you can, along with any other symptoms like lurching or vibration. Ask for a belt and pulley inspection.

How long will an inspection take?

This inspection may take at least half a day to rule out all potential sources of the problem. Most mechanics start with a visual inspection. If the problem isn’t apparent from there, they will conduct a test drive.

How do I know if I need to get an inspection when there is a loud squealing or squeaking coming from the timing belt?

Unusual noises deserve your immediate attention. Squealing and squeaking are clear signs that something is amiss. You may also notice that your vehicle is struggling to turn over. Specifically, ticking or whining noises are a strong indicator that the timing belt has a problem.

How important is a belt and pulley inspection?

It’s very important to get your belts and pulleys assessed by a trained mechanic. A squealing worn out belt isn’t just annoying; it’s also dangerous. It could break and cause serious problems. It could even leave you stranded on the side of the road.

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