Your Vehicle’s Serpentine Belt: Does It Need A Replacement?


The serpentine belt in your car or truck is usually one lengthy, snaking, rotating belt which keeps ones alternator, power steering pump motor, air conditioning and — every now and then — ones water pump motor running efficiently and without problems. But… What if it breaks?

How Often Does A Serpentine Belt Need Replacement?

Serpentine belts are meant to last considerably longer than before as a result of advancements with rubber technological know-how. Under excellent conditions, a belt should keep with your vehicle for an average of 60, 000 to 100, 000 miles. Pretty outstanding huh? However, some serpentine belts in cars or trucks are manually tensioned and may need to be altered. Others use a self-tensioning mechanism which could experience wear with time and may need to be maintained or replaced. One thing to recollect: in nearly all cases, when the belt breaks, the vehicle will stop running.

What Happens as a Serpentine Belt Gets Older?

They could wear, split, crack or even become shiny or “glazed, ” and rubber parts can peel from the belt. An aging serpentine belt also can begin slipping or squealing, become contaminated with fluid or even become out of line, in which often cases it’ll end up needing to be replaced. And in most cases, the car or truck will stop running as soon as the serpentine belt gets damaged in any way.

What’s the Advantage of having the Serpentine Belt Replaced?

Driving any vehicle while on an old belt can be a disaster waiting to happen because it powers most of a car or truck engine’s accessories. That means when your serpentine belt breaks, slips and, ultimately, stops working, everything – from the power steering pump to the alternator and air conditioner – stops working. What’s more, the parts it controls can become severely damaged. Broken tubes and belts in your vehicle are bad; a damaged engine is even worse. By changing your car or truck’s serpentine belt frequently, you can minimize the risk of breakdown.

Make the perfect time to have your own serpentine belt inspected.

An annual car or truck inspection or a visual inspection during an oil change is good way to determine your belt’s current condition, while giving you an idea of when it needs replacement.

Symptoms that You May Require A New Serpentine Belt:

  • Chirp or squeal: When a serpentine belt begins slipping, a squealing sound may occur. This is the result of the belt and pulley not working correctly, low belt tension or belt stretch and/or wear. Oil and antifreeze leaks can also contribute to belt slippage. If you hear these sounds, you need to have your car or truck inspected as soon as possible before further malfunctions occur. And with this sound, they eventually will.
  • System performance loss: Maybe your power steering has failed, your battery suddenly drains or your engine just stops. All these things are controlled by a properly functioning serpentine or V-belt. Once your belt is compromised, it can produce further damage to the vital systems – such as the alternator, water pump, power steering and air conditioning – that depend on it. Unfortunately, the resulting damage can require extensive repair, with very little warning leading up to the event.
  • Check engine light illumination: This may be an indication something is wrong with the belt.

Funny noises may be related to problems with other parts. Never ignore a noise. Where there’s a noise, there’s a potential problem. Have your ride inspected and keep your four-wheel investment protected.

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