The engine drives some of your vehicle's accessories. Instead of
being supplied by electric power, these accessories rely on a series
of pulleys and belts to operate. Some of these accessories include:
● Power steering pump
● Air conditioning compressor
● Radiator cooling fan
● Water pump
Some vehicles require a single serpentine belt to power these
accessories (as opposed to several individual belts).
Accessory Drive Belts
While some accessories in your
car are electrically powered by the charging system, others use the engine
itself as their power source. The power for these accessories is delivered
by a system of pulleys and belts. Examples of these accessories are:
Water Pump for engine cooling
Power Steering Pump
Air Conditioning Compressor
Radiator Cooling Fan
Many late model cars use a
single serpentine belt in place of individual belts to drive these
If you think of hoses as your vehicle's circulatory system, then
you'll have an appropriate representation of their importance. Hoses
are composed of two rubber layers with fabric in between. Types of
hoses vary on make and model, but typically include:
● Fuel hose (sends gasoline from
the gas tank to the engine)
● Radiator and Heater Hoses -
These hoses convey coolant to the engine and heater core.
● Power steering hose (connects
power steering pump to steering equipment)
You know that long belt
that snakes around the front of your engine? Itís called the serpentine
belt. The serpentine belt is driven by the engine as it turns.
It powers your alternator, air conditioning compressor,
and power steering pump. On some vehicles it also runs
the water pump, radiator fan, and power brakes.
Sounds like a lot of important stuff doesnít it?
If your serpentine belt were to break on one of our
roads, your battery would die in a few miles. If it runs your fan or
water pump, your engine could overheat. And steering and braking
could be more difficult. Obviously, the best thing is to replace
your serpentine belt before it breaks.
Check your ownerís manual for when itís recommended that you replace
your serpentine belt Ė or just ask our service
advisor for assistance. We can inspect the belt as well to
see if itís in trouble.
You may have been told by a service advisor to look for
cracks in your belt to see if it needs to be replaced. Of course,
cracks are still a concern, but modern belt material doesnít crack
as often as old belts did. What we look for these days is the
thickness of the belt. There are tools available that measures the
depth of the grooves in the belt to see if it needs replacing.
A worn belt can slip (squeal) or be misaligned, putting undue stress on the
accessories it runs.
Now you can imagine itís important for the belt to be tight, so
thereís a tensioner pulley on your engine that puts pressure
on the belt to keep it at the right tension. The spring on the
tensioner wears out over time so we recommend replacing the
tensioner pulley at the same time as the serpentine belt.
Replacing your serpentine belt on schedule, or when an inspection
warrants it, will keep you from an unexpected breakdown.
Radiator & Coolant Hoses
and coolant hoses are vital to keep your engine from overheating.
With time and use, hoses become brittle and weak. Don't wait for a
failed radiator or coolant hose to leave you stranded.
Upper Radiator Hose
Lower Radiator Hose
Cooling hoses should be
replaced every 5 years or 100,000 miles.
TIMING BELTS.... WHAT ARE THEY?
Piston engines can generally be divided into two groups-Interference
AND non-interference engines.
If a timing belt breaks on a non-Interference engine the engine will
'free-wheel' and the piston will not contact the valves.
On the other hand, interference engines will not 'free-wheel".
Severe valve train and piston damage can result if the timing belt
breaks while the engine is running.
TIMING BELT REPLACEMENT GUIDE
Most manufactures have recommended replacement Intervals for
replacing timing belts. A typical service Interval in between 50,000
and 60,000 miles. It is important to replace timing belts at
recommended Intervals even if the vehicle has a non-interference
engine. Proper maintenance prevents expensive tow bills and possible
accidents due to loss of engine power while traveling at highway