Fan belt or fan belt pulley?

Hello All!

So I’ve still got my 1994 Honda Accord EX, purchased new in 1994 which now has 82,000 miles on it.

A year and a half ago (I don’t drive much) the fan belt started squealing the dead back to life. Turning the fan off and on again is my fix but I’ve grown tired of it (plus I finally broke the knob off).

I stopped at a lube place for an oil change and asked them to adjust the belt and was told it’s probably the pulley. Along with a dissertation on how expensive it is to repair was provided referrals of where to go (figures).

Question fairly simple…

Belt or pulley and if latter how much is reasonable to repair (Chicago N/W burbs area…I know costs can vary quite a lot per region which is only reason to include that info). Perhaps buy the parts and take with to mechanic IF pulley?

Other idea is go to mechanic to have belt replaced and act ignorant to what one individual advised …worked in past as usually the first party is incorrect.


Thanks in advance!

Buying parts yourself is not a good idea because the mechanic does not have to warranty the parts. Just find a mechanic tell him or her what your problem is and you might look in your manual because you may have missed some service because of age not miles.

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What do you mean with

What fan are you turning on and off? A/C?

You need to clarify what fan you are talking about. The radiator fan does not run by a belt, but by an electric motor. The only other fan is in the heater/AC box inside the cabin. It does not run by a belt.

There are “fan” belts, more properly called drive belts, that drive the power steering pump, the alternator, and the air conditioning compressor. They are all moving all the time the engine is running, but the AC compressor itself can be turned off with the AC switch that’s part of heater/AC controls in the middle of the dashboard. But you mention a broken knob for the fan - that fan is inside the cabin, below the radio.

It’s not clear what fan you are turning on and off, and how.

Your Accord has either 2 or 3 belts to drive accessories. None of them drives your cooling fan which is electric. They drive things like the alternator, power steering pump, air conditinor compressor and on the engine with 3 belts, the oil pump. One or all of your belts are either worn out or in need of adjustment.

The oil pump is not driven by one of the three belts outside the engine.

The OP didn’t mention oil pump belt, just that she was at an oil change place and asked the mechanic to tighten the belt.

Totally ignore the man at the lube place. Very many of them have trouble tying their shoes let alone fixing a car.

Taking the car to an actual mechanic at a real service shop and telling him the trouble and how you experience the trouble will go along way to actually getting the car fixed properly. As you can tell, your description of turning the squeal on and off is very confusing to us because it makes no sense.

Oh, and you have never had the timing belt replaced it is looooonnnngggg overdue! Have that done as well and it may include a water pump. A broken timing belt not only will leave you stranded, but it will seriously damage your engine.

These older Hondas had up to 3 accessory belts. I know from owning a 1994 Accord, and driving friends/families 1996 and 1997 Accord. You can turn the A/C compressor on and off and it has its own belt. I think that helps to pin point where its coming from. My sister’s 96 needed a compressor because hers would squeal and groan, but a good mechanic can look at it closely.

The knob to which I refer is simply turning off the driver accessible “fan on/off” button. It stops the fan from running and usually when I turn it immediately back on the squeal stops. That’s why I think it’s just a misfitting belt and not some big gigantic thing.

I think I should video it. I can do that easily with the phone.

I’m just afraid of being ripped off by someone. It probably isn’t an enormous fix…yet.

I’m alone female so some mechanics assume easy prey…

NOT if I got you guys behind me!

It’s definitely the fan belt that is squealing. It’s so unbearably loud that it’s impossible to tell if that guy was telling truth about it being a pulley or if my initial thought right, just the belt.

Seems like something would have just gone poof after over a year. Not in any mood to find out though so trying to arm myself with knowledge from you!

Id almost be willing to bet it is the blower motor going bad, if turning it on and off sometimes stopped the squeal.

I’m wondering if OP turning the fan on is energizing the AC compressor…not uncommon if AC or defrost is selected. OP can verify fan belt noise by opening hood and confirming the sound is from the belt side of the engine.

The only passenger compartment fan control is for the blower motor fan. That’s what blows cold or warm air out the vents to keep the passenger compartment at a comfortable temperature. I presume that’s what you mean OP by “turning the fan on and off”. If so the noise could be coming from either of these places

  • the blower motor, inside the passenger compartment. That’s an electric motor, uses no belt I expect. But those motors do squeal when the bearings get dry, we get complaints here about that fairly often.

  • the ac compressor drive belt. As posted above, the ac compressor may turn on when you turn the blower fan on. That would only happen though in the AC or Defrost mode. Put the control to fresh air ventilate and listen if the noise is still there. If so, it’s the problem above most likely. If no noise, it’s more likely AC compressor drive belt. If the drive belt, absent evidence it’s the pulley, start by just replacing the belt. Worn belts can make really strange noises which don’t even sound like a belt problem. And worn belts can look pretty much ok, its hard to tell just by looking at them. One idea, spray some water on the belt with a spray bottle, when it is squealing. If that makes the noise go away, most likely a belt problem.

Do you have a push button on-off switch for the AC? What’s the effect of off and on?

Do you have a 5-position rotary switch for the heater fan, from Off to Maximum speed? What’s the effect of turning it to its various positions?

Knowing the answers to these questions will set us on the right path.

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I tried to post the above sentence alone but the site would not let me. It kept telling me it was unclear !

To the person who said the 94 accord did not have an oil pump belt, I will admit, I have never seen one but when I looked up the belt routing, it showed 5 different belt routing diagrams for the 94 Accord and the one with the three belts showed the extra belt labeled as an oil pump belt.

I expect OP means “accessory belt”. Folks still tend to call any belt that drives an accessory like the alternator or power steering pump a “fan belt” even though no fan is involved. It’s to differentiate it from a timing belt.