How to Tell If Your Serpentine Belt Is Failing

When you look under the hood of your car, you may be overwhelmed by the number of parts you see. There are many parts, including your vehicle’s belts. One of them is the serpentine belt, also known as the drive belt. This rubbery, snake-like belt is in charge of transferring mechanical power from your engine to many parts throughout the vehicle. It powers the power steering pump, alternator, A/C compressor, water pump, and more. 

To prevent the failure of the serpentine belt, we recommend replacing it before it breaks or as recommended by your automaker. Below are some key signs of a failing serpentine belt:

  • Heavy Steering - For vehicles with a hydraulic steering system, stiff and slow steering are common signs of a worn drive belt. When the belt gets loose, it may be more difficult to have control of the steering wheel. The power-assisted system may disengage altogether.
  • Unusual Noises Coming From Under the Hood - You may be tempted to drown out any annoying sounds coming from the engine. However, that could be a costly mistake. When a belt slips or gets loose, it will cause squealing sounds. Let us take a look to see what needs to be done with your serpentine belt.
  • Impaired A/C Or Heating - If your HVAC system is down, but you cannot pinpoint the problem, consider looking at the serpentine belt. A worn or broken belt can cause the water pump and air conditioning compressor to stop functioning. As a result, it will cause discrepancies with your cabin temperature.
  • Engine Runs Hot - A bad serpentine belt can cause the coolant flow in your engine to fluctuate since it powers the water pump. If your vehicle runs hotter than normal, please have your serpentine belt checked out immediately.
  • Cracking, Splitting, and Glazing - Last but not least, if you notice physical wear on your belt, ask your tech when you should replace the belt. The physical appearance of your belt is very telling of its condition of the belt.
  • Most serpentine belts don’t require replacing until it approaches 100,000 miles of wear.

If you need your serpentine belt, or drive belt, inspected, please call or visit the automotive professionals at Kaufman's Auto Repairs, Inc. We are always happy to assist you and offer honest recommendations.

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