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What Is a Serpentine Belt?

Views: 1     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2024-01-02      Origin: Site

The serpentine belt is a long rubber belt that delivers power to the engine accessories: alternators, power steering pumps, air conditioning compressors, and water pumps. You may have heard of serpentine belts called fan belts or accessory belts. This is because vehicles in the past had multiple belts connected to the engine and accessories (such as radiator fans).

But modern vehicles typically have a single belt, powered by multiple pulleys that power all the accessories. While using only one belt is the most efficient and reliable option, it also means that when your car’s snake-like belt breaks, everything stops working! You lose power steering, you lose power. You will lose power steering, the air conditioner will stop, your batteries will eventually die and the engine may overheat. In addition, it can damage the engine parts it controls.

That’s why it’s so important to change the serpentine belt regularly.

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Serpentine Belt vs Timing Belt

A serpentine belt is not the same as a timing belt. The serpentine belt and the timing belt have very different functions in your vehicle. The timing belt is located inside the engine to keep the crankshaft and camshaft in sync. This ensures that the engine intake and exhaust valves open and close in time with the pistons, thus allowing the engine to run smoothly. The serpentine belt is what keeps the engine accessories running smoothly and efficiently. It connects the crankshaft outside the engine to all the engine accessories.

When you look at the grooves, you can easily tell the difference between the two. Timing belts have horizontal “teeth” designed to match the gears of crankshafts and camshafts. The serpentine belt has multiple V-shaped grooves that run vertically along the belt. These belts often need to be replaced at the same time, so check with your mechanic or the owner’s manual to see if you also need to replace a timing belt.

What Are the Signs of a Failing Serpentine Belt?

As the snake-shaped belt ages and wears away, the rubber parts may flake off, causing the belt to break, wear or slip. When these things happen, it can become misplaced or contaminated with liquid. There are various symptoms that may indicate that your car’s snake-like belt is wearing out, including:

A creaking or chirping sound. When the snake-like belt starts to slip, it may begin to chirp or squeak. This sound indicates belt tension, low belt tension, or that the pulleys and belts are not working together properly. If you notice these noises, you should schedule a check before more faults occur.

Cracks and wear. You may notice physical signs of failure, including missing chunks, cracks, damaged ribs, uneven wear, or separated ribs.

Air conditioning or power steering system failure. If the snake-shaped belt malfunctions or breaks, you may find that your air conditioner is not working properly. In addition, your car’s power steering system, alternator or water pump may fail, leading to serious safety problems.

The car broke down. When the serpentine belt breaks completely, your vehicle will come to a standstill, which can be very dangerous and inconvenient.

Your check engine light and other gauges will warn you when something goes wrong with your belt. Never ignore warning signs of snake-belt failure.

What Is the Advantage of Having the Belt Replaced?

If you drive with a worn belt, you may be causing your engine accessories to fail. When the belt slips or breaks, your car’s functions, such as alternators and power steering pumps, will likely stop working. A faulty belt can also damage the parts that power it. Dealing with a broken belt or hose is bad enough, but it’s even worse if your engine is damaged. By changing the belt regularly, you can reduce the risk of your car breaking down. This enables you to enjoy your car and drive carefree.


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