Car Care Tips

Tips to keep your car on the road.

Maintenance January 11, 2016

Your Vehicle’s Serpentine Belt

Sure, we’re all familiar with a timing belt, its functions and purpose but there’s also another important belt that helps your vehicle run smoothly. It’s the Serpentine Belt.

The Serpentine Belt keeps your alternator, power steering pump, air conditioning and — in some cases — your water pump running smoothly and effectively.

If your serpentine belt were to break, steering and braking would be difficult, your engine could over heat and your car battery will eventually die. But rest assured, your serpentine belt was made to last. Under ideal circumstances, a serpentine belt should last 60,000 to 100,000 miles (depending on your vehicle).

As the serpentine belt gets older it can wear, fray, crack or rubber parts can peel off the belt. An aging belt can also begin slipping or squealing, become contaminated with fluid or become misaligned, in which case it will need to be replaced.

Virginia Tire & Auto can inspect your serpentine belt’s condition during a routine maintenance appointment and also give you an idea of when it needs to be replaced.

Here are the common signs your serpentine belt may need replacement:

“Squealing” or “Chirping” Sound: These sounds could be a result of the belt and pulley not working correctly, low tension, stretching or wear. Oil and antifreeze leaks can also contribute to belt slippage.

Performance Loss: Power steering failure, car battery draining or the engine stopping abruptly are all examples of performance loss. Additionally, they are also signs that your serpentine belt may be compromised. A damaged serpentine belt can cause damage your vehicle’s vital functions such as the alternator, water pump, power steering and air conditioning

Illuminated Check Engine Light: The check engine light coming on may be an indication something is wrong with the belt.

Unusual noises: Never ignore a noise. Your vehicle is communicating a potential problem and you should make sure to have it inspected at the earliest.

Are you due for an oil change or other routine maintenance? If so, have your trusted Virginia Tire & Auto mechanic inspect your Serpentine Belt during your next visit with us.

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