Belt dressing review – does belt dressing really work to condition and quiet squeaky belts?
If you drive an older car then I am sure you have probably heard its belt squeak at some point in time. You probably just put up with it until it became unbearable and then had the squeaky belt or belts (some cars have more then one belt) replaced. You might also have found a spray can of belt dressing at your local Wal-Mart or auto parts store like Pep Boys.
If you tried the belt dressing did it work for you? From my vast experience at working on both American made and import autos I would be willing to bet that it was a very temporary fix and in most of the cases that I have seen the belt dressing either does not work or only lasts a matter of minutes before the belt starts to squeak again. In many cases it actually makes the squeaking even worse and more high pitched – which can really be annoying unless you want everyone to know you are driving your car from a mile around.
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The problem with belt dressing is it is a very cheap and short lasting lubricant. In my opinion it is a complete waste of money. You spray this lubricant or belt dressing on the belt while it’s running any it also inevitably ends up spraying around the engine compartment. If you want a longer lasting and better spray then switch to a silicone based spray lubricant. A good silicone based spray will cost around $4 and it will in most cases quiet the belts for several days or longer.
Again, these are just temporary fixes at best. They do not fix the real problem which is usually worn belts, dirty pulleys, or belt tensioners that need to be readjusted. It is most common to have a worn belt. Belts do not last forever and it is recommended that you check your belts regularly for signs of wear or fraying. A worn belt will stretch out and may not stretch evenly. This can cause it to rub too hard on one side of a pulley and this will cause squealing.
A worn out or broken belt tensioner can also cause this problem. It could also just mean that your belt tensioner needs to be readjusted. The pulleys on older cars can also get dirty and the bearings can become worn and cause serious squeaking. If the spray lubricants quiet down the belt then you know it is the belt causing the issue.
The real cure here is to find out what is causing the problem and fix it. As I said earlier, the most common problem on all cars is worn belts. It isn’t expensive to buy a serpentine belt and then hire a mechanic on Craigslist to come out to your house and replace it. While they are doing that have them check your pulleys, the belt tensioner and water pump as they are all in the same vicinity.
But, stay away from belt dressings. They are just cheap lubricants that do not last long at all and many times don’t even work on squeaky belts. If you want to try a lubricant for a while to see if the squeaking problem is the belt then use a silicone spray. The silicone spray will last much longer and is usually about the same price.
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