How To Clean Coolant Off Serpentine Belt?

Knowing how to clean coolant off the serpentine belt is essential for all car owners. You may have mistakenly spilled coolant on your belt. 

Coolants on the serpentine belt can cause squealing noise from the rotation of the belt, which is quite uncomfortable. Otherwise, the coolant should dry off over time.

Also, it may cause the belt to corrode and overheat, which damages the belt over time. We recommend cleaning the coolant off the belt, and we have compiled this article to examine some of the causes and fixes.

can coolant damage serpentine belt

What can cause Coolant on the Serpentine Belt?

The significant causes of coolant on the serpentine belt are leaks. For instance, leaks may come from the cooling line, water pump, etc.

A serpentine belt plays an essential role in powering important parts of your car. It powers the alternator, power steering, water pump, and air conditioning compressor.

However, sometimes you are left with coolants leaking on serpentine belt, which is not good. So far causes of the coolant of your serpentine belt involves, we will be looking at them below.

Damaged water pump

One major cause of leaks is a damaged water pump. It could cause coolant leaks when the seals and gaskets which link the water pump to the cooling system are broken.

Coolant is stored in the water pump with the help of a gasket and seals. It ensures the coolants do not escape the water pump, creating tight storage. Once the gasket or seal is broken, your water pump leaks coolant, which can reach the serpentine belt.

Damaged serpentine belt

As mentioned previously, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. It ensures that the engine stays cool at all times. If the serpentine belt goes out of position or breaks, the water pump will stop working, which could cause leaks.

How would a stopped water pump cause coolant leaks? Coolant will not be circulated through the engine system when the power pump stops working. It could cause overheating in the engine.

Once the engine overheats, the coolants in the reservoir will boil and expand, causing leaks. When this happens, coolant can get to the serpentine belt.

Spilled coolant while pouring

Another way coolant can get to your serpentine belt is if you spill it on the belt. It could be when you are trying to top up your coolants. It is natural for a mistake like this to happen. However, do not leave the spilled coolant on the belt after the mistake.

Leak from the cooling lines

The cooling line takes coolants from the reservoir and ensures it flows through the engine. Once the coolants are done with circulating, the cooling line also collects the hot coolants to be cooled off before being sent back to the reservoir.

When the cooling lines get damaged, a series of leaks can be created in multiple areas. These leaks make it easy for coolants to reach the serpentine belt.

antifreeze on belt

How to clean coolant off the serpentine belt?

If you have coolant on your serpentine belt and wonder, “Can you clean a serpentine belt?” The answer is yes but you need to know how to clean serpentine belt properly. Here you go:

  • You need to get your materials ready. You will need the following.
  • WD-40 as belt dresser or brake cleaner on serpentine belt as a substitute.
  • A bar of soap
  • Baby powder
  • Clean water
  • Cleaning spray
  • Apply the WD-40 to the belt to loosen up any debris on the belt. Allow it to sit briefly, and then wipe the belt clean.
  • Spray regular cleaner on the belt, like 409, and ensure enough is sprayed on the part there is a coolant spill.
  • Rinse out the belt with hot water using a bucket.
  • Start the engine and then use a pressure hose at the side of the belt to ensure all coolant comes off.
  • After you have done all these, apply belt dressing spray.

This step is a way you can clean serpentine belt without removing. If you feel it necessary to remove the belt when cleaning, you could.


Will coolant ruin a serpentine belt?

Coolant will ruin your belt if you let it stay. Your serpentine belt is made of rubber, and coolants do not react well with rubber. Coolant is majorly made from Ethylene glycol, a toxic component. When spilled on any rubber surface like a serpentine belt, it degrades and erodes the rubber or plastic part once it dries. 

Can you spray water on serpentine belt?

You are allowed to spray water on your serpentine belt, as it has no negative effect on rubber parts. Spraying water on the belt is a great way of diagnosing belt noise. All you have to do is spray water on the belt if the noise reduces or stops and return to the beach when it is dry. If the noise continues, then you may have a misalignment issue.

What does WD 40 do to a serpentine belt?

WD-40 is a belt dressing that acts as a lubricant for your belt. When applied, it reduces friction and noise that could be coming from the belt. It would help if you use WD-40 belt dressing on your car belt at least once a month.

Does coolant destroy rubber?

Coolant will destroy rubber because Ethylene glycol does not react well with rubber. Once it stays on the rubber surface long enough, it will burn through the rubber.

Can you put soap on a serpentine belt?

Yes, you can apply soap to your serpentine belt. Many people do not know this, but soap is a way you can reduce the squealing noise coming from your car belt. Another way is by applying a degreaser, which would quiet down or stop the noise.

Does oil damage the serpentine belt?

Yes, oil can damage your serpentine belt. An amount of friction keeps your belt in place when moving. When oil gets to the belt, it reduces friction, causing it to jump out of position.

Also, oil can deteriorate the belt when left on the belt for too long. It will cause the belt to be too soft, leaving the belt stretched out. As a result, it will cause more noise from the belt.

Final Words

Can coolant damage serpentine belt? Yes, it will damage the belt immediately if coolant stays spilled on the belt. No. The coolant must dry up on the belt before it starts causing damage. It gives you time to detect the spill on the belt and clean it. Do not try and procrastinate, or it could have done its damage already.  

Akindayini Temiloluwa

I am passionate about everything automotive. Right from when I got my first toy car as a kid, I developed an interest in the inner workings of vehicles. As I grew up, my love for mechanical stuff became more substantial enough for me to pursue a career in it. My goal as an automotive content writer is to simplify the most challenging concepts for my readers, help them self-diagnose what may be wrong with their vehicles and offer real value for their time.

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