So I have a 2003 Ford Tauraus. I took my car in last week for its regular 10,000 mile check up. While there, I asked the mechanic to check my fan belt as I had experienced some squeaking in that area. When I first noticed the squeaking, I picked up some belt conditioner from Auto Zone and had sprayed it, and that stopped the squeaking for a few weeks. The mechanic stated that nothing was wrong with the fan belt, and so I took it home. This week, starting as of Monday, the right side of the car is squeaking again. I sprayed the fan belt with the belt conditioner again this morning, but only seemed to make the squeaking worse. As of this morning, there is no smoke coming from under the hood and no overheat signal has come on. It only squeaks when I am going 30 or under on the road. I am debating whether I should take it back to the shop or what I should do. Any suggestions?
If belt dressing silenced it, then it’s the belt. Replace the belt. They get glazed and slip. While there in there have them replace the automatic tensioner if it has one. Belt dressing just collects dirt and causes premature belt failure.
If you are lucky, the smoke came from a slipping belt. You may have a clutch that is failing on tbe air conditioning compressor. If this is the case, the clutch can be replaced without replacing the compressor, although many shops want to replace the compressor along with the clutch.
My daughter’s 2003 Taurus had the squeaking when I first got it. My first thought was to replace the belt which made no difference. It turned out to be the cam synchronizer (it replaces the distributor on the Vulcan 3.0 V6 for coil on plug ignition). It looks like the bottom half of a distributor. It is a known issue when the bearing on the shaft wears. I decided to replace it since the distributor shaft drives the oil pump. Suggest your mechanic use an engine stethoscope to the base of the synchronizer to confirm it is the source of the noise. I paid about $220 to have my mechanic replace it (100 part/120 labor) in March 2014 and have had no problems since
I posted this discussion on the subject.
Do a search on “Taurus cam synchronizer” for more info.
No smoke coming from the car. I listened to it on my break today and I am pretty sure it is coming from the fan belt. If the silver portion is black and blotchy, that means its wearing down, right?
How old is the belt. Anything over 5 years needs replaced. Look for cracks and chunks missing on the inside of the belt. There is a measuring tool to measure the depth of the grooves to help determine wear, but if belt dressing cured it then just replace it and the tensioner.
I drive 4 miles round trip to work. I know that I am risking the belt having problems, but if that’s all I drive till I can take it to my shop this weekend, should it be okay?
I had the same problem with a 2003 4Runner when it was brand new. The belt was squeaking, so we took it back to the dealer. The belt was replaced, but the squeaking started up again. The belt was,replaced a,second time. Unfortunately, the belt wasn’t installed correctly and the crankshaft oil seal was,pulled out. The,4Runner went back and the oil seal was replaced and a third belt installed, Within 100 miles, the squeanking returned. Finally the dealer discovered that the tensioner had a weak spring. We have had no more problems in the 12,years we have had the 4Runner. Moral of the story–check the belt tensioner when the belt is replaced. It would have kept the dealer from having an unhappy, customer and it will save you some grief.
A visual inspection of a serpentine belt for wear is no longer an indicator whether or not the belt requires replacement.
Instead, a belt wear gauge is used to determine whether or not the belt requires replacing.
Have someone check the condition of the belt using one of these gauges. And if the belt is found to be worn, replace it with a serpentine belt kit. This includes the new belt, new tensioner pulley, and a new idler pulley.
Thank you all for your help and comments. Just one more question. I have applied belt conditioner which helped the first time, but when I applied it today it made the squeaking worse. Any idea why?
More than likely the belt is so worn that the belt dressing is no longer effective.
Here’s another thing you want to do.
Open the hood and start the engine. While observing the belt tensioner, have someone rev the engine and then let it come back to idle. Repeat this a few times, and if at any point you observe the tensioner start to shake or bounce the tensioner is also worn.