Serpentine Belt Squeak Cold Start - 2005 Camry LE

I’m getting a squeaky sound coming from my Serpentine Belt area when starting my car from a cold start in cold weather (below freezing). I have about 155k miles on it.

I had the belt replaced by the dealer about 30k miles ago. The dealer had difficulty putting on the belt and had to give me a rental, some other mechanic came in to put on the belt because nobody could get it on. They gave me a rental while my car was with them waiting for the other mechanic. The crank sensor broke shortly after I got the car back. I’m a little worried about messing with the serpentine belt because they had difficulty getting it on.

I checked my belt, no cracks looks like it’s in good shape. Looking online the squeaking sound can be a few things.

  1. Not proper tension

  2. Misalignment

  3. Failing pulleys
    Anything else?

  4. What is the proper tension? What is the tool used to measure it?

  5. How do I check for proper alignment?

  6. How do I check for failing pulleys?

Thanks for any help!

You said dealer , but is this a new dealership or a used dealer lot. Replacing a belt should not be that difficult . Either way you need a different shop and I would also advise planning on replacing this vehicle.

Let’s clear up one thing . . .

Which engine do you have?

2.4 liter?

3.0 liter?

The 2.4 liter has a serpentine belt and an automatic belt tensioner

The 3.0 liter has multiple belts, and no automatic belt tensioner. On that engine, you have to set the tension yourself

I have 2.4 liter, automatic transmission .

Toyota dealership that sell both new and used vehicles had difficulty getting a new belt on.

I do have the fund for another Camry, but want to get a few more years out of this car.

Thanks for all the help!

I just used my mechanics ears to find a bad idler pulley. Before I broke them out, I was convinced it was the alternator. Price difference $17 vs $180. They have paid for themselves many times over now…

1 Like

Thanks for the information

Considering the difficulty putting the new belt on . . .

they might be putting on the wrong belt . . . don’t laugh too hard, I’ve seen guys try to do it . . . or there may be a problem with the automatic tensioner


How do I check if they put the right belt on? The part number should be written on the belt, and k can check to see if it’s the right one?

Number is on belt. I’d search for the part at Rock Auto, find the brand you have, and see if Rock lists the same number for that brand’s belt. I have also found the correct numbers at Amazon. I had to replace an incorrect PS belt, courtesy of a local parts place that’s usually been reliable. The salesperson transposed two numbers in the part number and sold me one that was too long.

As to the source of the squeak: remove the belt once you have the right one in hand. Turn each driven component and idler pulley. They should all turn smoothly with no graininess or play. All pulleys should line up in the same plane - close one eye and look. The idler pulley’s arm should pivot smoothly through its range of motion.

OP may not have skills.

So I checked and I have Toyota Part Number 90916-A2005 on my 2005 Camry which appears to be the right part per this website

Attached is a picture of it on my car

Any other suggestions? I confirmed right part. Where do I find the specified tension for the belt?

If its squeeling I would just replaCE it again .Belt itself is maybe $20 unless you go to the Toyota dealer who may charge you $40 for the same part. If your setup just uses a tensioner this should be a 10 minute job .
Looking at your site cant believe Toyota gets $75 for a belt .

Thanks for the recommendation. Why would replacing a non worn belt with a new one solve the problem?

You won’t find that kind of information because it doesn’t exist for your application

Like I said earlier, you have an automatic belt tensioner, which means you don’t adjust anything

Considering your mileage, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it’s time to replace the tensioner assembly, which is . . . heads up . . . rather expensive

call me a pessimist, but that belt looks kind of glazed for only 30K of use

1 Like

How do I verify the tension puller assembly is failing?

Post a video of the tensioner assembly while the engine is idling with the ac compressor engaged

Thanks I will in the morning when it’s light out

The belt install procedures says the belt tension is supposed by be checked and adjusted to spec again after running the engine for 5 minutes. Maybe they forgot to do that. Ask them to re-adjust the belt tension. Another common mistake is to not get the belt ridges lined up with the pulley ridges correctly, often offset by one ridge to the side.

The belt replacement is spec’d at about 1/2 hour so it is hard to understand why a dealership would find that a difficult job. I expect they used one of their trainee staff for the job, and this was the first time they had done it. It requires a special tool, SST 09249-63010. Maybe the shop tech did realize this or they don’t have that tool for some reason.

Here’s a question for the folks here. The instructions say “slow turn the belt tensioner for more than 3 seconds” . I could see turning it more than 30 degrees, but 3 seconds? What’s that about?

How does Toyota tell you to adjust the tension when you have a tensioner?
I can only find information on replacing the tensioner, no adjustment.
Time required to replace belt relates to removing wheel and fender liner to gain access to the belt and tensioner.

The ‘kit’, ie, belt and tensioner at rock auto range from $89.79 to $130.79
To the OP, once you have the belt off, turn each pulley by hand, each should turn freely.

The tensioner assembly can fail two ways.

The bearing can wear out and some times you can just replace the bearings.

The tensioner assembly can corrode from salt exposure so that the assembly can no longer move to keep enough tension as the belt wears or stretches. THis is the commoner failure in the Buffalo area where I live. I have had this happen on two cars.

On the 2nd car the mounting bolt was also so corroded with salt that it broke off flush in the engine and there was not enough room for me to drill it, I am not a good enough mechanic to fix that without removing the engine so I tool it to my mechanic who welded a nut to the bolt to remove it.

If the tensioner is frozen, it makes it very difficult to replace the belt if you don’t replace the tensioner. Any shop around here would know that. As soon as you try to pull the tensioner to take off the old belt and it doesn’t move, the problem should be obvious.

The spring on the belt tensioner is probably too weak to provide the proper tension on the belt.

Replace the tensioner.


1 Like