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Noisy belts

I have a 2003 Mazda Protege that has some incredibly noisy belts. The noise is only present when I first turn the car on (more so in the winter). Having the belts replaced last summer didn’t solve the problem.

I took my car to a local shop recently and they recommended changing the harmonic balancer, but after doing some reading about what happens when the harmonic balancer goes bad, noisy belts didn’t come up as a symptom.

I have a suspicion that the problem is the generator since a) I’ve replaced the battery twice in less than three years, b) starting the car may strain the battery enough that the generator produces greater resistance causing the belt to slip, and c) I have have a cigarette lighter power splitter with a power indicator on it that shows low when the belts are making a lot of noise.

Is it possible that the harmonic balancer is the cause of my noise or could it be my suspicion that the generator is not working as it should? Is there a way I can test either one of these theories without replacing parts?


have you had the belt tensioner replaced?

are you sure they said the harmonic balancer?

you mention the new battery, have you had a new alternator put on in the past?

No, I haven’t had the belt tensioner replaced.

Yes I’m sure they said the harmonic balancer. I have a quote to have it replaced.

No, I haven’t had a new alternator put in in the past.