Belts and hoses are vital in keeping your vehicle running. If a belt snaps or hose blows it can result in an overheated engine and cause additional damage to the engine or other components.
Whether serpentine, V-belt or fan belt (the belts on the outside of the engine), they all transmit power from the front of the engine to accessories that need to be driven, such as the air conditioning, the charging system and fans. Belts can break down with heat, mileage and age and many belts that look as new on the outside have become dangerously weak on the inside and may be on the verge of failure due to weakened inside cords.
Replacement belts must have the same width and length as the original. This is especially important with serpentine belts that rely on an automatic belt tensioner to maintain belt tension. Belt tension is critical with both V-belts and serpentine belts. It must be adjusted properly and maintained for good belt performance, quiet operation and long life. If a serpentine belt on an engine with an automatic tensioner has failed prematurely or appears to be slipping, the automatic tensioner should be inspected and replaced if it is sticking, frozen or has a broken spring. On applications that do not use an automatic tensioner, belt tension must be adjusted to specifications, and then readjusted after a short break-in period.
Hoses transport the various fluids such as fuel, brake fluid, coolant to and from their destinations. Typical wear and tear is due to vehicle age, mileage, belt tension, electrolytic corrosion, oil contamination, or failed hose clamps. Rubber hoses can become hard and brittle, deteriorating with age and exposure to heat, causing the hose to split, blister or leak. You may be experiencing hose or belt problems if you notice any of the following:
• Small holes in the hose.
• A collapsed hose.
• Hoses that crunch or are soft, sticky, or oil-soaked.
• Belts that are cracking, fraying, missing pieces or have a shiny, glazed appearance.
• Swollen areas on hoses.
• Coolant tracks.
• A squealing noise as the engine is accelerated.
• A slow, rhythmic slapping sound when the car is idling.
• A sweet burning smell from a coolant leak.
• A/C system may fail
• Dashboard light will illuminate
• Engine Overheating
Typical Service for Belts and Hoses:
• Hoses should be checked at each oil change for age hardening (or softening) by pinching. Any hose that feels rock hard or mushy is due for replacement. Leaking, visible cracks, blistering or any other visible damage on the outside of the hose would also indicate a need for replacement.
• The clamps should be replaced when new hoses are installed.
• V-belts should be replaced every three to four years or 40,000 to 50,000 miles.
• V-belts and serpentine belts should be checked for looseness.
• Replace the timing belt between 60,000 and 90,000 miles or based on the interval specified in the owner’s manual.
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