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98 Buick Regal, belt

98 Buick Regal, 50k miles. I just had a new Serp Belt put in. I car was running fine, the belt hadn’t broken, I just thought it was time to change it.

It’s been about 5 days since the new belt ever since then I can smell a little burning rubber when I come to a stop. I also just noticed that when the car is in gear and NOT moving that I can only turn the steering wheel 1/2 turn before it stops and noise begins. If the car is moving or if it is in Park or Neutral then I can turn the wheel fully.

Q1. With a new belt should there be any smell/break in period?

Q2. Is the steering/turning issue related to something that happened when a new belt was put in.



thanks for suggestions/comments!

Unless the old belt really had problems there should be nothing different with a new belt - smell or steering. The top possibilities - I think - in order of probability would be 1) the wrong belt was installed. It would have to be close but not exactly right or you’d have much worse problems; 2) the belt wasn’t routed correctly; 3) there is some problem with the belt tensioner. If you replaced it, do some double & triple checking of the belt’s part # & its routing. If someone else replaced it, just explain the issue & ask then to check it over.

A 4th WAG possibility is that the bearing in your power steering pump is almost gone - the new belt puts on more tension (even though it really shouldn’t if your tensioner is ok) and hangs up the bearing.

I changed the serpentine belt in my 1998 Regal two or three times and never noticed this problem. First check the routing. Make sure that all the pulleys have the belt wrapped around them and make sure that the belt is tight. If a new belt is routed properly and is tight, there is no reason why the belt would slip, generating the rubber smell.