New belts chirping

A. What might cause accessory belts to squeal for a few minutes after the engine has been started, and then stop squealing? This is particularly bad if the car has been sitting in the rain overnight, or if its the kind of morning where the temp is close to the dewpoint so the car is covered in moisture.

B. What can I do about it ?

C. These belts [Powersteering & Alt/Compress] were installed a few months ago by my regular, independent garage. I took it back and politely complained and they simply told me that the belts were “tight” and didn’t offer any further solution. I feel that my shop should stand behind their work and at least try to remedy this. The old, crappy and worn out belts that were replaced never, ever made this kind of noise so I don’t see why new belts should. Should I take the car back and politely complain once more?

Please and thanks. Oh yeah, its a 99 Accord, 4cyl, 134,xxx.

Go back and ask that they retighten the belts.

The belts on your engine don’t have spring loaded tensioners like serpentine belts do. Instead each component the belts operate have a jack screw or tensioning screw for the belts. Sometimes when new V-belts are installed they will take a stretch and loosen slightly. You then have go back and retighten the belts to stop them from squealing.


Another possibility is that something with a pulley is mounted in rubber bushings that have gotten out of shape. This causes the pulley to be slightly out of alignment. That would explain why the old belt did not squeak, as it was worn to fit the misaligned pulley, but the new one does. This kind of misalignment is visible if you can get a good look at the belts and pulleys. On my cars, it is so tight in there that you can’t see much of anything without taking stuff apart.

Why does this only happen when the car is wet?

The belt is likely slipping when wet.

Check to see if the splash shield is missing.