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Squick Belt

I think after reviewing other discussions I need to tighten a belt that squicks when cold. It’s was suggested that it a simple procedure. Could someone tell me how to do this. It’s a 1997 and belts have been changed before. Also, could it just need WD-40?

Do NOT spray WD-40, or any other lubricant, on the belt.

The belt is squealing because it’s slipping on a pulley, and lubricant will make it slip even more.

Gates lists three belts for this car, so the first thing you have to do is figure out which belt is slipping.

Each belt will require a separate procedure to adjust its tension. If you wish to adjust or replace the belts yourself I suggest you acquire a Haynes service manual for your Prizm. The manual won’t cost much and it will contain step-by-step instructions for things like this.

Thanks for the response. If it requires tools to remove, then I’m pretty much out of luck. Is it ok to drive with it like that or am I risking serious work down the road. It stops when I get out of the alley. I might have to take it in but I hate when they take advantage. I did get a great mechanic at Lupient Chev in Bloomington who was able to get a hole fixed in my washer line. They didn’t make parts any more. But just to inspect is $55.

You can get rosin in a can that you an spray on the inside of the belt. This should be done while the engine is running. Be careful not to get too close to the belt while it is moving and don’t wear loose clothes that could get caught in the belt. The rosin will make the belt sticky and that’s what you want.

Sure you can buy some kind of “squeak-stop” in a can, and it’ll work for a short while then you’ll be spraying it again, over and over. The first thing you need to ensure is that the belt is properly tightened (usually uses a tensioner, so you’re counting on the spring inside the tensioner to maintain the proper tension). If it is using an adjustable alternator or idler pulley to tighten it, this is where you manually have to tighten the belt. Then after you ensure it’s properly tightened, and it still squeaks, it is probably glaxed and will stop only by replacing the belt.

Yes, tools are required. You can drive the car with a squealing belt, but it will continue to get worse since the belt wears a little more every time it squeals.

Do you know anyone who car recommend an independent mechanic? You don’t really need a dealer for this. Adjusting the belt tension and/or replacing the belts is pretty simple and not an expensive job.

Perhaps you should check the “Mechanics Files” on the CarTalk home page for a recommended mechanic in your area: