Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Your Vehicle’s Belts and Hoses!
V-Belts or Serpentine Belts:
Your car’s accessories are controlled by either a series of v-belts, or one serpentine belt that winds around your engine. These belts power your alternator, water pump, power steering and cooling fans, so if a belt were to degrade and snap, it would mean a breakdown and costly repairs. That’s why it is a wise idea to replace these belts at OE scheduled maintenance intervals.
Look for cracks or splits in the belts; greasy or glazed look; excessive cracks; splits or chunking; or if the belt is exhibiting edge damage and/or wear. Listen for signs of impending belt failure including a squealing noise when the car accelerates. This could mean the belt is slipping and not efficiently turning the drive accessories. The belt tensioner also could be worn and in need of immediate replacement.
Serpentine Belt Replacement & Repair Service
Your car’s engine, power steering pump, air conditioner, alternator and other systems could all be impacted if the vehicle’s belts are not well maintained. If you allow your timing belt, fan belt or serpentine belt to remain in the vehicle for too long without replacement, you will likely end up with an expensive auto repair that could have easily been avoided.
Importance of Serpentine Belt Maintenance
The serpentine belt, also known as the drive belt, is made of rubber. It connects the AC, power steering, and alternator to the engine’s crankshaft. The crankshaft sends power to each of these systems as well as the vehicle’s air injection pump.
If the belt does not function properly, the car’s electrical accessory components will not operate and the battery will not be properly charged.
Serpentine Belt Inspections
Serpentine belts often crack and will eventually break due to the engine’s heat. This usually occurs around the 30,000 to 40,000 mile mark. It is recommended that you have the belt replacement performed before the vehicle reaches this mileage level.
To stay on the safe side, it is recommended that you have your serpentine belt inspected at every oil change.
Consequences of a Faulty Serpentine Belt
If you hear slapping sounds from the engine, this is often an indication that the timing belt has slipped. When a timing belt breaks, the engine will no longer function or might even suffer significant damage. This is precisely why all automobile owners should have their timing belts checked on a regular basis.
If your vehicle’s serpentine belt breaks, you may find it difficult to turn the steering wheel and driving it may be unsafe. If your vehicle is older or if you hear squealing noises from the engine, those belts might need to be adjusted or replaced.
Oftentimes you will hear these squealing noises on cold mornings while starting the vehicle or when taking sharp turns. Other common symptoms of a damaged serpentine belt include an engine that overheats or an illuminated battery warning light.
Serpentine Belt Replacement Cost
The serpentine belt replacement cost is quite minimal compared to the damage that could occur if you leave a malfunctioning belt in your vehicle. As part of your routine maintenance schedule, a certified technician can inspect and replace any belts if needed.
The timing belt in your car’s engine is a toothed or ribbed belt that is the sole component that keeps the camshaft(s) and crankshaft in sync. A failed timing belt can cause extensive and expensive engine damage, that’s why it’s important to replace it at OE scheduled intervals. Similar to other belts, your timing belt will degrade with time and usage.
Look for worn or sheared teeth; worn lands between the teeth; the back of the belt is cracked or worn; a damaged or worn edge; difficulty starting your car; and grease or oil contamination. Listen for a high pitched shrieking or whirring sound, especially when the engine starts. This noise may also be heard while the engine is idling.
A belt tensioner is a pulley that maintains the constant belt tension and torque required to drive a vehicle’s multiple accessories. It’s imperative to ensure these belts are doing their job and keeping the belts they support in the proper place to prevent more damage to your engine. Listen for a squealing or rattling coming from the timing cover area.