How To Be a Car Genius: Squealing Under the Hood


What is How To Be A Car Genius?

Many of us can admit that automotive jargon isn’t exactly our native tongue. Somewhere between the evaporator core and exhaust valves, something gets lost in translation. We’re here to help decipher all that jargon with How To Be a Car Genius, or as we like to call it, the Rosetta Stone of the automotive language.

No matter your level of experience, How To Be a Car Genius is for everyone looking to learn a little more about their vehicle. Whether you are shopping for your first car or you know more about tires than Michelin himself, this guide is for you.

Now to the good stuff — buckle up and get ready to become the car master you were born to be with our first How To Be a Car Genius topic: Squealing Under the Hood.

It’s the morning shuffle. You wake up late, eat half a piece of toast and dash to the car hoping you grabbed clothes from the clean pile. You climb inside your car and start your engine. Suddenly an unholy squeal rings out from under your hood and you are certain your vehicle is about to explode with you and your half eaten toast sitting right there in the driver’s seat. Take a deep breath, with a little luck the cause of all the racket is simply a worn out fan belt.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is the fan belt and what purpose does it serve? To begin you need to know that your fan belt actually has two different names, a radiator fan belt and a serpentine belt. In the past, vehicles had a multitude of belts that performed a number of different jobs for the vehicle’s mechanical system. Today, one belt does the work of many and it is known as the fan or serpentine belt.

So what exactly does it do? Your vehicle’s fan belt is looped around a system of pulleys designed to keep the radiator fan turning. By circulating cool air across the engine, the fan belt helps to regulate the engine’s temperature. The fan belt also works to supply power to many other components throughout your vehicle’s engine. If your fan belt gets worn out or stops working properly, your engine can get overheated and your vehicle won’t operate correctly.

How do you know when your vehicle’s fan belt needs replacing? That awful sound you hear when you start your car is the number one indicator your fan belt needs to be replaced. If you start your car’s engine and a terrible squeaking sound rings out, check to make sure all of your gauges and indicator signs appear normal. If all of those check out, let the engine run for a minute and wait to see if the screeching starts to stabilize. After a minute or two has passed, if the sound has not gone away but has settled a bit, you probably have a loose or damaged fan belt.


Another way to check your vehicle’s fan belt is a visual test. Pop the hood of your car and start looking for your fan belt. It will resemble the image below and looped around several pulleys.


SOURCE: idrivesafely

Once you locate the fan belt, look to see if it appears to be loose or damaged in any way. If it appears loose, the tensions level may need to be adjusted with a quick trip to your local service department. If it is damaged, it will need to be replaced.

If you think a fan belt is the source of your problems, bring your vehicle into the Luther Burnsville Hyundai service center as soon as possible. Click here to schedule an appointment online at your earliest convenience. Our trained technicians will examine your vehicle and get you back on the road in no time.

Remember, this is not a foolproof method to determine if your only problem is a faulty fan belt. It is always best to bring your car into your local service center for a professional second opinion.

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