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Your vehicle's belts are critical to its functionality. If their integrity is compromised, your vehicle's vital systems could suffer serious damage.
Your car's engine, power steering pump, air conditioner, alternator and other systems could all be impacted if the vehicle's belts are not well maintained.
If you allow your timing belt, fan belt or serpentine belt to remain in the vehicle for too long without replacement, you will likely end up with an expensive auto repair that could have easily been avoided.
The serpentine belt, also known as the drive belt, is made of rubber. It connects the AC, power steering, and alternator to the engine's crankshaft. The crankshaft sends power to each of these systems as well as the vehicle's air injection pump.
If the belt does not function properly, the car's electrical accessory components will not operate and the battery will not be properly charged.
Serpentine belts often crack and will eventually break due to the engine's heat. This usually occurs around the 48,000 to 64,000 kilometer mark. It is recommended that you have the belt replacement performed before the vehicle reaches this tachometer level.
To stay on the safe side, it is recommended that you have your serpentine belt inspected at every oil change.
If your vehicle's serpentine belt breaks, you may find it difficult to turn the steering wheel and driving it may be unsafe. If your vehicle is older or if you hear squealing noises from the engine, those belts might need to be adjusted or replaced.
Oftentimes you will hear these squealing noises on cold mornings while starting the vehicle or when taking sharp turns. Other common symptoms of a damaged serpentine belt include an engine that overheats or an illuminated battery warning light.
If you hear slapping sounds from the engine, this is often an indication that the timing belt has slipped. When a timing belt breaks, the engine will no longer function or might even suffer significant damage. This is precisely why all automobile owners should have their timing belts checked on a regular basis.
The serpentine belt replacement cost is quite minimal compared to the damage that could occur if you leave a malfunctioning belt in your vehicle. As part of your routine maintenance schedule, a certified technician can inspect and replace any belts if needed.