Automotive Belts and Hoses
We know the importance of avoiding bigger repairs when belts break and hoses leak.
The belts and hoses in your vehicle are made with rubber. These kinds of rubber components can wear and tear more quickly and easily than the parts in your vehicle made with different materials. This the why we recommend that you have your Timing Belt and Serpentine Belt, as well as all of your hoses inspected with each Oil Change. In most reputable repair shops, Inspections are free so don't hesitate to ask them!
Belts pass around pulleys in your engine compartment to keep other systems in your car fuctioning and interactive with one another. Every time your belts pass around a pulley, it is forced to bend a flex and produces heat that hardens the rubber belt over time. Friction is created between the belt and pulley causes even more heat on the belt and after millions of loops around each pulley, even the highest quality belts begin to crack.
Regular Inspection can help protect your vehicle from extensive & expensive damages!
The wear and tear process can very easily be accelerated if the belt is loose and slips, or even simply through high weather temperatures and high mileage. When the rubber of your belts starts to crack and fray, the cords become brittle and subject to breaking. If the belt breaks, you will immediately lose whatever fuctions are powered by that belt in your vehicle. Systems like your Water Pump, the Alternator, A/C, and Power Steering are all connected to belts within your vehicle.
When it comes to the rubber hoses that run through your vehicle, they tend to fail from the inside out. They may look fine, uncracked, from the outside but may have fracturing beginning from within. These hoses will deteriorate with time, age, and continual exposure to high temperatures. Like the belts in your car, the rubber hoses also become hard and brittle, with small cracks forming along the hoses until they split or leak.
If oil leaks onto the outside of the coolant hose can accelerate the breakdown, and leaks should be taken very seriously. Today's iron/aluminum engines and radiators create conditions inside of your engine that can make the hose into a conductor that speeds up the erosion process of the rubber. If the hose fails, it could cause a lot of unnecessary damage.
- WHY ARE TIMING BELT INSPECTIONS SO IMPORTANT FOR MY VEHICLE?
The Timing Belt connect the crankshaft on the bottom of the engine to the cylinder head and controls when the valves open and close. Timing Belts need to be replaced regularly, typically around 100,000 miles. If high wear and tear such as visible cracking is noticed, the belt should be replaced immediately to prevent further damage. Some engines have a Timing Chain instead of a Timing Belt, the primary difference being that a Timing chain is considered a Lifetime Part; this means that the part doesn't require periodic replacement.
Once a Timing Belt breaks, the engine shuts off and it cannot be restarted. Sometimes when the Timing Belt breaks, the pistons continue to move and bend valves that have lost their timing mechanism. Additional damage like this can drive a repair up several thousand dollars. It's common for the Timing Belt to drive the Water Pump of the vehicle and that's the reason that many shops recommend having the Water Pump and Coolant replaced at the same time the Timing Belt is replaced; it prevents needed to an additional expensive repair in the near future when the Water Pump fails.
- WHAT IS THE SERPENTINE BELT AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
A properly operating Serpentine belt keeps your vehicle running smoothly. The Serpentine Belt drives features such as the Alternator and Air-Conditioning Compressor, sometimes even the Power Steering and Water Pump of your vehicle. This belt is usually mounted externally, where it's visible on the front of the engine. This also makes it fairly easy for a visual inspection of the rubber showing wear such as cracking or stretching. It's not unheard of to be able to start the vehicle after a Serpentine Belt breaks - if it's connected to the Alternator, the car won't get very far because you're relying on electrical power from the battery and the car shuts down as soon as the battery power is consumed.
It is important to have your Serpentine belt inspected at 60,000 miles and most OEM recommend that the entire system (Belt and Tensioners) are replaced at 90,000 to prevent costly repairs from belt failure and damage.
You may hear squealing noises when you start the engine or accelerate, or possibly rattling noises from a pulley or tensioner - these are signs that your Serpentine Belt (or accessory belt) is deteriorating and needs to be replaced. We strongly recommend you have it inspected regularly by an ASE-Certified Mechanic.