Signs Your Air Conditioner Belt Is In Need of Repair

Do you hear a clicking or squealing sound under the hood of your car? Does it persist when you’re idling at a red light? When you turn off the air conditioner, does the sound stop? These could be signs your air conditioner belt is on the way out.

What is an air conditioner belt?

The air conditioner belt is a simple but important part of your vehicle’s air conditioning system. It connects the compressor clutch to the engine crankshaft, which turns the compressor when the engine is on. It works to deliver cool air in the summer and defrost your windows when the temperature drops.

According to Your Mechanic, depending on how much you drive, a typical belt can last between 30,000 and 40,000 miles or about three years.

Types of air conditioner belt

Depending on your vehicle, the air conditioner belt is either a V-belt or a serpentine belt. Some cars have a separate, narrow V-belt which connect the air conditioner components together, while others have a flat, thick serpentine belt with ribs that connects two or more other components along with the air conditioner.

Does it need to be replaced?

Whether you need it or not depends on the type of belt you’re dealing with. In the case of a serpentine belt, loss of air conditioning is just one symptom of a larger problem. If the belt fails, many different parts of the car will fail as well.

A broken V-belt won’t kill your car, but it will leave you stuck without air conditioning in the heat of the summer. You’ll also be without a defroster in the wintertime, which is more than just an inconvenience for people living in cold climates.

Signs of a broken air conditioner belt

As mentioned, a squeaking or clicking sound in your engine are often the first signs of trouble when it comes to your air conditioning belt. Other signs include:

  • Visible wear and tear, like cracks, fraying, splitting and stretching
  • Defroster not working
  • Little to no cool air coming in when you turn on the air conditioner

Before you look under the hood for signs of trouble, find your car’s repair manual and put on protective gloves and safety glasses. Never try to repair or replace a component while the engine is on.

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