Belt Squeal - DIY or probably not?


I’ve got a 2001 Honda Civic, automatic, that has a nice (what I think) belt squeal going.

It seems to happen when it’s wet/cold, in the lower gears/RPMs, when the defroster and/or rear defroster are on.

SOMETIMES it will stop when I turn off the defrosters. If it persists I can make it stop by quickly putting it in park (at a light or stop sign) and right back into D or if moving gunning it for a few seconds.

Occasionally I do get a hot rubber smell (like a burning vacuum belt) coming through as I accelerate.

So as someone with no real car knowledge, does this sound like a belt issue that I can take care or myself (i.e. belt tensioner and a gauge) or should I just leave it to the pros?


As you prepare for DIY step one ( replacing the belt ) hand spin all the free pulleys when the old belt is off.
If any of those are noisy or spin with a dry or gravelly feel replace that pulley now too.

Is this the original belt? If so, go ahead and change it as it’s long overdue. I change the serpentine belts on my vehicles every 3 or 4 years. I’ve had good luck with Goodyear Poly-V belts.

Do it yourself might be a little tricky on a FWD vehicle though. As Ken mentioned, check the pulleys for binding.

Ed B.