2012 Ford Fusion smoking near serpentine belt

Hello! I have little maintenance experience, so please bear with me.

Some background:

  • 2012 Ford Fusion SE 4 Cylinders A 2.5L FI DOHC
    ~160k miles
  • regular oil changes including one recently
  • Serpentine belt shredded and was replaced a little over a year ago

BLUF: White smoke near serpentine belt, burning smell, hesitant idle, AC stopped working.

Car had an intermittently hesitating idle with engine running and AC on cold with full fan. The AC started blowing cold air, I shut off the AC, and smelled what I initially thought was burning rubber (though I’ve heard coolant also has a strange smell.) I popped the hood and saw white smoke coming from near deep in the area of the serpentine belt. I shut off the engine and the car continued to smoke for a while until I dumped water on it and the smoke slowly waned.


The air conditioning compressor may be starting to seize up.

The car needs to be towed to a shop. Because it can’t be driven if the serpentine belt is smoking.


Is that something I can replace on the spot? When we replaced the serpentine belt before, we did it on the side of the road.

Locate the AC compressor and unplug the clutch electrical connector.

Start the engine and see if the belt starts smoking again. If it does, there’s another component driven by the belt that’s the problem.


Excellent I will try that! What do I do if it is this part? Do I only need to replace the compressor?


It requires a certified AC technician to replace the compressor and recharge the system with refrigerant. And this requires special equipment.


Got it. I’ll go try this out. I appreciate the advice!

Tester, I disconnected the AC compressor and let it idle. I couldn’t reproduce the smoke or smell, so I drove it the mile home and it still didn’t smoke or smell. Can I leave it disconnected and drive it until I grow an extra arm and leg for the repair costs?

Yes, you can leave it disconnected. You won’t have AC but the car will run fine.

Great! Thanks!