How can I quiet down my old junker that runs great but screeches like a banshee?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1998

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1990 Mercury Grand Marquis, and it has been a great car. It rides
beautifully and I've had no trouble with it. But it SOUNDS like a junker! The
fan belt wheezes, screeches and screams. When I spray it, it stays quiet for
about three days. The fellow at the gas station said the belt looked good, so he
hesitated to replace it. What can I do to make this car quiet down? -- Joe

RAY: If the belt is relatively new, Joe, I think the problem is more likely to
be your belt tensioner.

TOM: This car has a tensioner that's supposed to automatically take up the slack
as the belt inevitably gets older and looser. And if yours isn't working, that
would explain all the "loose belt" noise.

RAY: It's worth trying a new belt, Joe. But if the noise comes back before too
long, then I'd put in a new tensioner, and that should solve the problem.

TOM: And just be thankful all you've got is belt noise. When my brother is
driving, the wheezing, screeching and screaming is all coming from us

Get the Car Talk Newsletter