The serpentine belt (or drive belt) provides power to various crucial components in your vehicle. Which crucial components, you ask? Great question. The power steering pump, alternator, air conditioning, and (in some vehicles) the water pump are all put into motion by the serpentine belt. That's why it's important to keep that serpent slithering smoothly!
Modern serpentine belts should last between 60,000 and 100,000 miles. Heat and friction wear the belt down over time, causing it to fray, crack, and slip on the pulleys it's wrapped around. Improper tension on the belt can also cause it to wear more quickly and slip.
Squealing noise – Squealing under the hood could mean the serpentine belt is slipping or damaged. Sometimes this only requires an adjustment to the tension on your belt, while other times it may require the belt to be replaced.
Overheated engine – The water pump can't cool your engine if the serpentine belt isn't providing it with power. Overheating is a serious issue that can snowball into many other problems. (That's a hot snowball.)
Power steering loss – Since the serpentine belt helps the power steering system to function, you may find yourself having trouble turning the wheel as a result of a faulty serpentine belt.
Air conditioning problems – If your a/c will not blow cold air, this could point back to the serpentine belt failing to provide enough power the air conditioning system.
Loss of battery power – If the alternator can't depend on the serpentine belt for power, it's not able to recharge your battery. If your battery dies while your vehicle is running, or your car won't start, the serpentine belt could be to blame.
Visible wear on the serpentine belt – Cracks, worn ribs, separation, missing chunks, fraying, and other obvious damage to the belt mean it's getting old. As you're about to find out, we can easily take a look for you!
Your technician will provide a free visual inspection of your serpentine belt – and your other belts and hoses – each time you visit Brakes Plus for an oil change or scheduled maintenance service. This is an easy way to keep an eye on these parts and ensure they're all in good, safe condition. Of course, if you experience any of the symptoms listed above, swing by and we're happy to take a look at your serpentine belt!