The primary purpose of a drive belt or serpentine belt is to drive or power the engine accessories, e.g alternator, A/c compressor, power steering, water pump, and any additional accessories like idler pulley.
The drive belt is the link that keeps everything in tune when an engine run. Some cars possess one drive belt only, whereas others have several. You should check your belts for cracks and signs of wear even though they last a long time.
Over time, the drive belts wear out, if very worn or cracked, the drive belt can break, which will disable your engine. A squeaking noise is often the first sign that your drive belt needs checking. But if they break while the engine is running, it can cause serious damage to engine components, “expensive engine components replacement will be required.
Basic Belt Maintenance
To increase the longevity of your car’s serpentine belt, there are a few basic maintenance tips you should be aware of.
1. Know where your belt is located: The exact location of the serpentine belt may vary depending on the car. For most cars, the belt will be located at the front of the engine. When checking the belt, always make sure the car is switched off and cooled down.
2. Your belt should be inspected with each oil change: Mechanics will normally check the belt to ensure no significant damage has occurred. However, checking it yourself is fairly straightforward.
3. Make sure the belt is aligned on the pulleys correctly: If the belt slips off the pulleys, your car may not run properly or important components may lose power.
4. Check your belt’s tensioner: The tensioner regulates the amount of tension placed on the belt to make sure it stays on the pulleys. If the tension is loose, the belt can slip off the pulleys and cause components powered by the belt to lose power.
5. Know the important rule of thumb: If there are more than three cracks in a one-inch space on the belt, it’s time to replace it.
6. One belt usually lasts 60,000-100,000 miles. Belts don’t need to be changed often unless they are getting old or have sustained damage.
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