Belts are the easily forgotten workhorses in your vehicle’s engine. These rubber components help bring power to your alternator, power steering pump, water pump and other accessory areas in your vehicle. Because of the belts’ extreme working conditions, they are very susceptible to cracking and fraying. We at Great Bridge Auto Service recommend that belts be inspected annually to be sure they are in good working order.
A serpentine belt, sometimes called a drive belt, is a single belt that winds its way through a series of pulleys to bring life to your cooling system, power steering, and other accessories. It is recommended to replace the serpentine belt every 60,000 – 100,000 miles. Although they are incredibly durable, all those miles really take a toll.
What are some warning signs my belt needs to be replaced?
Our vehicles have their own language of letting you know something is just not right. Noises and odd behavior are your vehicle’s way of asking for help. Because your serpentine belt runs so many features on your vehicle, ignoring the warning signs can cause larger problems.
1. Squealing noise while the vehicle is in use
2. A/C is not cooling properly or working at all
3. Fluid contamination on the belt
A timing belt is your engine’s orchestra conductor. Just like a conductor coordinates all of the instruments to play in harmony, a timing belt keeps your engine in “time”. A notched rubber belt moves the crankshaft and camshaft in a synchronized way to open and close valves at proper intervals.
Because timing belts can break with no warning, most manufacturers recommend replacement every 60,000 – 100,000 miles. Unfortunately, they are as difficult to visually inspect for damage as they are to change. It is usually suggested to have your water pump replaced when your timing belt is changed if your water pump is in fact driven by the timing belt. This is because 80 – 90% of the labor to replace the water pump is done while replacing the timing belt.
What are some signs my timing belt is in trouble?
A lot of car owners ignore the early warning signs their vehicles give them. Timing belt trouble can spell disaster for many of today’s engines. If your vehicle is exhibiting any of the symptoms below, take it seriously.
- Slapping sounds which could indicate the belt is loose and is hitting against the timing belt cover.
- Fluid leaks are seen on the belt once the timing cover is removed.
- Most break with little or no warning at all.