yeah its belt, when they are going south they tend to squeak a bit at start up then go away when warmed up. when they really get bad it actually sounds like a bearing grinding metal to metal. with winter coming, i would play it safe and just swap it now with of course a gator back IMO. wouldnt want slush to get in belt and lose power in the dead of winter on a busy road would you? $25 and 5 mins of time and your good to go.