Tel: (02) 9419 2195
136 Victoria Avenue, Cnr. of Stanley Street, Chatswood 2067.
Monday to Friday: 8.00am – 5.30pm

Ask the mechanic: How do I know when to change my fan belt?

The fan belt is attached to a pulley, or series of pulleys, and turns your radiator fan at enough speed to draw outside air into the radiator. The belt is sometimes used for additional vehicle components, including power steering, air conditioning and the alternator.

How do you know when the fan belt requires changing?

If you start to hear squealing or screeching sounds coming from the engine, this can be one of the first symptoms of belt damage. Although the sound may only last a minute or two when starting the engine, over time the noise will grow louder and last longer. This noise is as a result of the belt slipping off the pulley due to corrosion.

If the noises are recurring, visually inspect the belt when the engine is off and cool for signs of damage such as fraying or cracking, excessive wear, or oil contaminations.

If the inspection highlights any of the above symptoms, it is time to remove it and fit a new one. Whilst we always recommend a professional mechanic do it, if you have some car knowledge and are certain it is the fan belt, we cover the process below.

How do you change a car's fan belt?

  1. Locate the fan belt tension adjustment.
  2. Loosen the bolts on the mounting assembly and remove the damaged belt. Leave the tension slightly relaxed so you can install the new belt.
  3. Install the new belt following the belt diagram for your vehicle, and feed the new belt through the series of pulleys that the belt controls.
  4. Tighten the belt by turning the bolts on the mounting assembly that controls the tension of the belt, until there is no longer any play in the belt path.
  5. Turn on the engine after you have made final inspections, ensuring that all pulleys are being turned by the belt with sufficient tension.

The new belt will settle in and stretch a little, so the tension should be checked again after a period of time.

If you are looking for car repairs in Sydney, Reliance Auto Centre is a small trusted mechanic based in Chatswood. Contact us for more information.

Photo: IMG_8373 by Stephen Kruso licensed under Creative commons 5

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