Just about every vehicle has a serpentine belt. It’s the ribbed, reinforced rubber belt that powers all the accessories, A/C, Power Steering, alternator and various other components in your car, truck, or SUV (depending on the make, model and year of the vehicle). Serpentine belt shouldn’t require any maintenance, and typically last up to 150,000 miles.
But, like most things, they don’t last forever and when it fails your vehicle will stop running. Regular inspections can keep you from getting stuck. If your belt should begin to go bad, you can replace your serpentine belt on your schedule rather than in an emergency. This blog post will describe the visual and auditory clues that your serpentine belt needs to be replaced.
What To Listen For
When your serpentine belt is making squealing sounds, it is a good idea to inspect for the cause. There could be water on the belt, which isn’t such a big deal, especially if it’s raining at the time. Oil on the belt is a more of a concern, however. If it should become oil soaked or “glazed,” the belt will not be able to provide the proper torque to the engine. Unless you happened to spill motor oil while filling, there could be a leak, which should also be addressed. Make sure any oil leaks are repaired before you put on a new belt.
What To Look For
Old serpentine belts will usually show clear signs of wear before they fail altogether. If you notice that the ribs on the side of the belt facing the pulley assembly have small pieces missing, this isn’t always cause for alarm. It’s not uncommon for serpentine belts to continue functioning with four or five small notches missing. However, if there are many chunks missing, or several close together, you should have the belt replaced immediately.
If one side of your serpentine belt is wearing or fraying unevenly, the belt may be misaligned or rubbing against a bolt or pulley flange. Have a mechanic inspect the belt’s integrity and replace it, or simply realign it and make the adjustments that will prevent further damage.
Due to high temperatures within engine compartments and weather elements, belts typically begin to dry rot with age, forming cracks in the rubber. If the belt has many cracks or one that extends more than halfway through the thickness of the belt, it will need to be replaced.
Inspecting and replacing serpentine belts is part of Grease Monkeys full menu of auto maintenance services. If you notice any of these signs of a bad belt, stop on by our shop – no appointment necessary.