Belts and Hoses
Fight the Dry Rot
The belts and hoses on your vehicle are just as essential as any other part; however, their pliable nature makes it necessary to replace them periodically to keep your vehicle running like it should.
Belts, like V belts and serpentine belts, are essential to the cooling, air conditioning and charging systems. Hoses help navigate coolant to the vital components of the engine. Hoses can break down over time and need to be inspected at every oil change or service. Some manufacturers recommend replacement at a certain mileage. Clamps should be inspected and replaced when needed. During inspection look for hoses becoming extremely hard or soft/mushy.
While it’s best to replace hoses and belts BEFORE they go bad, sometimes things happen beyond our control, like buying a used car that hasn’t been properly maintained or another problem occurs which causes damage to a belt or pulley.
How Often Should I Replace Belts & Hoses in My Car?
Typically, hoses should be replaced every 4 years. Belts vary depending on the type of belt. V belts need replaced every 3 years or 36,000 miles. Serpentine belts run cooler and can go 4 years or 50,000 before needing replaced.
Why Do My Belts & Hoses Go Bad?
Your car’s belts & hoses are made of reinforced rubber which wears down over time. Normal use wears them down through the heat of passing over the pulley over and over. The passage of time will inevitably cause them to dry out, causing them to crack and split. This is particularly the case if you buy an older car with low mileage—many car owners don’t think to replace these parts because the mileage is so low.
Cars that have an idler pulley use it to change the direction of the belt or as a placeholder to make the belt operate in the desired way. An improperly functioning idler pulley can cause the belt to squeal, wear out prematurely, and make the components run by the belt malfunction.
Mostly, hoses in your car are used for assisting the transportation of coolant through the engine. A minor leak may go unnoticed for a while, but over time, you may see puddles accumulate under your car. And if the leak is severe, you can run the risk of overheating your engine, which is bad news.
Serpentine Belt Tensioner
Many cars have what is called a serpentine belt, which snakes through your engine compartment, turning multiple pulleys to run many components like the alternator or AC compressor. Without a functioning serpentine belt, the vehicle could lose:
- Alternator operations. Vehicle needs the alternator to charge the battery. Without the alternator the vehicle will eventually stall and not restart.
- Water pump. When the water pump is not moving it isn’t moving vital coolant that helps cool your engine which leads to your vehicle overheating and could cause major damage.
- Power steering operations. If you lose the belt and have to steer the vehicle manually, you better have some pretty strong arms. This will make it extremely hard to maneuver your vehicle.
- Air Conditioning. This component as well as others will not work either. The Air Conditioner compressor uses the belt for operation.
Serpentine Belt Tensioner
The belt tensioner keeps the serpentine belt tight so it continues to function properly. If the belt becomes loose, it can slip and not perform properly. This can lessen the life of the belt as well as cause the various components that are run by the belt to malfunction or fun at less than peak levels.
Beck’s Auto Center Can Help
Our team of automotive specialists will be happy to review your owner’s manual to determine when your maintenance schedule calls for your belts and hoses to be replaced.
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