A serpentine belt is also known as an accessory belt, which is the main engine strap inside the hood of the car. It is made up of reinforced rubber commonly manufactured using high-quality material and the durability of this belt is dependent on the very material. These belts can be easily recognized by their identifiable ridges. These ridges are responsible for the acceleration of the length of the belt on one side. The ridges must maintain the grip while rotating the accessory pulleys.
The engine components require a source to receive power from. When the engine runs, the rotating speed of the crankshaft is delivered to every accessory pulley through the serpentine belt.
If the vehicle is super-charged, the accessory belt powers the supercharger as well.
Serpentine belt vs V-belt
The engines did not have serpentine belts until the ’90s. Before that, the engines had v-belts. As compared to accessory belts, v-belts are thin while serpentine belts are thicker. It usually joins engine components to the crankshaft. There are more than one v-belts in an engine, but there is only one accessory belt in it. However, both the belts perform their functions nicely in their unique way. Neither of them can’t be declared better than the other. The selection is up to the user.
Top 7 bad serpentine belt symptoms
One just cannot ignore a poor serpentine belt. A bad accessory belt can affect the whole functionality of the vehicle and may cause severe damages.
Some symptoms alert the driver, which means that the vehicle is going to be in some serious trouble. Following are the most usual symptoms of a poor serpentine belt.
Air Conditioner stops working
A problematic air conditioner can lead to a lot of issues. Running the air conditioner is the job of the serpentine belt, therefore, a poor accessory belt will make it stop working.
If someone notices that their air conditioner is not working, it means that it’s due to a poor accessory belt.
If a person hears squealing sounds coming from the front part of their vehicle, then there are chances that their serpentine belt might be causing issues. Sometimes, it would require picking a proper reinforcement of these belts to solve the issue.
In other conditions, it could be due to a bad or probably broken belt, which needs to be replaced.
No power steering
The serpentine belt allows the power steering system to do its job in the right way. Power steering lets the driver accelerate the vehicle effortlessly; without requiring much of the arm muscle force.
If someone has a poor accessory belt, then they must be finding it difficult to move the steering wheel to run their vehicle.
There is a possibility that it might be happening due to the low power steering fluid. If the driver is checking the engine area, they must examine to confirm that the power steering reservoir consists of the required amount of power fluid level.
The serpentine belt activates the water pump, which helps the engine to lower its temperature. If a belt is damaged or exhausted, the water pump won’t be able to work effectively. This can cause your engine to overheat. You can see the warning when the temperature gauge on the dashboard will show the needle moving towards the red zone. Don’t be so careless about this issue because if you delay the repair, there are high chances that the engine would get seriously damaged.
Prominent cracks on belt
Access to the accessory belt is convenient in almost all cars. If a person is concerned about the belt and wants to examine it, uplift the hood and take a look at it. If the belt’s appearance is not in a good condition, it’s an alert to get it replaced immediately.
If your car suddenly stops and loses its power, chances are your serpentine belt is faulty. In this case, take a look under the hood and find out whether the belt is still connected or not. If the driver can start the car, the alternator will not charge the battery due to the broken serpentine belt. Without the charge of an alternator, slowly, the vehicle will lose electricity.
If the driver hears a whine coming out from the engine that is changing with engine speed, it’s a sign to check the serpentine belt. If the belt is too tight, it’s the perfect time to solve this issue, as soon as it can be.
We have shown you some signs of a bad serpentine belt, below you will find the tips regarding its maintenance.
Maintenance of the serpentine belt
Maintenance gaps generally start anywhere from 60,000 to 100,00 miles. It differs in different cars. It is very important to check your accessory belt, from time to time. After that, you will need to use an accessory belt rib tool, which can be found at almost all auto parts shops. Sometimes, the belt is shabby, but it can’t be seen with the naked eye. When you detach the belt, you have another option to use the belt wearing gauge tool. By putting this tool on the ribbed part of the belt, you would be able to see how shabby the belt is.
Didn’t cars use to have multiple belts?
Previously, vehicles used to have only individual belts for many components. Having said that, every belt could be replaced individually. These vehicles had inconsistent or compromised functioning as each belt started to get faulty.
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