Exposure to heat, vibration and contamination makes belts and hoses wear out faster than any other components in your car. That's why regular inspections are so important. Belts and hoses serve some of the most integral functions in keeping your car running properly. Belts ensure that your internal components move as they should, and hoses help liquids and gases move throughout the engine compartment and around your vehicle. If a belt breaks or a hose gets a leak, it is really stressful, so it’s very important to take steps to prevent this from occurring.
Accessory Drive Belts
While some accessories in your car are electrically powered by the charging system, others use the engine itself as their power source. The power for these accessories is delivered by a system of pulleys and belts. Examples of these accessories are:
- Water Pump for engine cooling
- Power Steering Pump
- Air Conditioning Compressor
- Radiator Cooling Fan
- Many late model cars use a single serpentine belt in place of individual belts to drive these accessories
The belts in your car act in a similar manner in controlling many essential functions for movement. For example, the timing belt helps synchronize the movement of your car’s camshaft, and your serpentine belt is responsible for turning your alternator and air conditioning compressor.
Over time and thousands of twists and turns, your belts can develop soft and hard spots. If left untreated, these areas can become susceptible to breakage. When a belt snaps, you can become stranded or cause thousands of dollars in damage by internal components getting off track.
You know that long belt that snakes around the front of your engine? It’s called the serpentine belt. The serpentine belt is driven by the engine as it turns. It powers your alternator, air conditioning compressor, and power steering pump. On some vehicles it also runs the water pump, radiator fan, and power brakes. Sounds like a lot of important stuff doesn’t it?
If your serpentine belt were to break while driving roads, your battery would die in a few miles. If it runs your fan or water pump, your engine could overheat. And steering and braking could be more difficult. As you can see, the best thing is to replace your serpentine belt before it breaks.