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Why does the air conditioner make a loud piercing noise? on 1999 Lincoln Town Car

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I was testing my AC system for the coming summer and my car is making a loud piercing noise when I turned the AC on. A co-worker told me that it could be a fan belt. Is this a fan belt issue and how much would it cost?
(1) Answer
Indeed a loose Air conditioner Belt can cause noise when turned on as belt slips on pulley, inspection of serpentine belt tensioner should be performed. A weak or bad Air Compressor clutch can also cause noise when engaged. Your local repair shop should perform an inspection to properly diagnose cause of noise and estimate.