Providing power to several important vehicle components, a serpentine belt is a single lengthy winding belt attached to the air conditioning, alternator, power steering pump, and, occasionally, the water pump. Durable due to advanced rubber manufacturing technology, serpentine belts have service lives averaging 60,000 to 100,000 miles
In years past, important auto components each had their own belt that provided power. Although they were replaceable, a car’s performance suffered when just one belt was affected by wear and tear. A modern vehicle now uses one belt, a serpentine belt, and this is no longer a problem. However, regularly scheduled inspections and maintenance are still necessary to ensure a serpentine belt is functioning properly.
Manual and Self Tensioning
Some serpentine belts are tensioned manually and require adjustment. Others feature a self-tensioning mechanism, which can degrade as the mileage and years accumulate, and will eventually need replacement. Insufficient tension will lead to a belt squealing, slipping, or running abnormally hot, hurting vehicle performance. When it becomes loose enough, a serpentine belt will fall off, and the vehicle will cease functioning.
Wear and Tear Effects
As the miles pass, a serpentine belt can begin wearing, fraying, and cracking. Their rubber material can also gradually glaze, and parts will begin to detach. Older belts will also squeal and slip. Some serpentine belts will be degraded by fluid contaminants, undergo misalignment, and require replacement.
A serpentine belt that is in poor shape or beyond its normal service life, is a breakdown waiting around the corner. As mentioned previously, it provides power to most every engine component. If it snaps, your car will stop running. It will also be more expensive to replace if it breaks. This is because the automotive components may suffer serious damage when it does. The maintenance, service, and replacement of a belt as scheduled will lessen the chances of a catastrophic breakdown.
Have your serpentine belt visually examined during an annual inspection or oil change to keep track of its condition and to determine whether or not it is properly functioning. This will help prevent the inconvenience and expense of major repairs.
For Great Service
Chesapeake Import has provided reputable and trusted automotive services to Annapolis and the surrounding areas since 1991. Call us for an appointment today at (410) 267-8411. We will be very happy to see you.