Serpentine Belt Replacement Information
Many car owners know the importance of maintaining their vehicle. Most are aware of the major components that need to be maintained to help make the vehicle run how it's supposed to. However, many overlook one special part that is as important as any other main component. That part is called the serpentine belt.
A serpentine belt is a belt that runs through all the major components on your vehicle. Depending on the vehicle’s make and model, the way the serpentine belt runs differs. View the diagram above to get a better understanding of how the serpentine belt works. The belt transfers power through pulleys from the engines crankshaft and any other components or pumps mounted on the engine. In some vehicles the belt can also be guided by an idler pulley and/or a belt tensioner.
Since the serpentine belt connects through many of the major components of your vehicle, it is important to maintain and service the belt. The serpentine belt plays a major role in many important vehicle functions. One major component that completely relies on the serpentine belt is the alternator. When the alternator on a vehicle is not functional, the battery can't be charged. Other major components that will be affected are the water pump, power steering, cooling fans, and power brakes. However, keep in mind, every vehicle varies. Some vehicles’ power steering, cooling fans, and power brakes are run by separate motors. When the water pump goes out, it causes the coolant that protects your engine from overheating to stop flowing, which causes engine overheating and damage.
Because of the importance of the serpentine belt and how crucial it is to the function of your vehicle, you should always keep up with the maintenance of the belt. A simple visual inspection of serpentine belt wear will alert you to the possible need for belt replacement. Signs that the serpentine belt is wearing are: more than three or four cracks per inch, a crack that is more than a half inch deep, frayed or missing pieces, or a shiny glazed appearance. If any of these issues are spotted on the serpentine belt, it should be immediately replaced. The lifespan of the serpentine belt varies from vehicle to vehicle. The best way to keep up with the maintenance of the serpentine belt is to have it checked every oil change and tune up.