Belts and hoses are essential components of your vehicle, but they’re often overlooked when it comes to the routine inspection checklist. These parts can affect the performance of your engine, power steering and electrical charging system, resulting in an overheating engine, loss of power steering, and other issues.
At Main Auto Body, Inc., we know how important it is for drivers to avoid expensive repairs stemming from a broken belt or worn-out hose. Find out what each belt and hose does and potential warning signs below.
Nearly every car built today has a single, multi-grooved serpentine belt. This drive belt has a very important responsibility – it drives the alternator, water pump, power steering pump, air conditioning compressor, and other accessories. Newer belts are often made with advanced compounds that resist cracking, which can make it difficult to tell if your belt is bad.
By and large, serpentine belts are usually good for up to 50,000 miles. After that mark, keep an eye on the belt to make sure it hasn’t extended its stay. When inspecting a serpentine belt, look for cracks, fraying or splits along the top cover, as well as glazing on the sides. You can also twist the serpentine belt to check for layers that may be separating, cracks or missing grooves on the inside surfaces.
A timing belt, timing chain, or cambelt is an important part of your engine. Its job is to synchronize the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft, ensuring that the engine’s valves open and close at the right times in accordance with the pistons. Typically, the timing belt has teeth on the inside to help it move along.
As you might expect, the timing belt is very important in the functionality of your engine. If it were to break, your engine would cease to operate. And more times than not, a broken timing belt will cause serious engine damage. Therefore, it’s important to have your cambelt inspected regularly. In general, a timing belt will need to be replaced once your vehicle has surpassed 60,000 miles or after 7 to 10 years. However, those numbers will vary based on the make and model of your car.
Coolant and Heater Hoses
Though hoses are a big player in the performance of your vehicle, they’re also your cooling system’s weakest component. Made of rubber, coolant and heater hoses allow coolant to flow between the engine, radiator and heating block. However, because of their construction, they’re also susceptible to extreme heat and cold, dirt, oil, and sludge.
Issues with coolant and heater hoses are fairly simple to detect. Start by simply squeezing the hose, checking to see if it’s still pliable. Then, look to see if there are cracks along the hose. Cracks signal that the rubber is breaking down. In regards to damage caused by heat, search for swelling or discoloration in the hose. The smell of coolant inside your vehicle may also indicate that there’s a leak at the heater-core outlet.
Seek Out Auto Repair Services
A broken belt or hose can spell trouble for your vehicle, especially if it comes as a result of a collision. If you’re experiencing engine or power steering problems as a result of a worn-down, loose or broken hose or belt, contact Main Auto Body, Inc. today. We offer nine locations throughout the Willamette Valley and in Bend, OR to help keep your vehicle in safe condition, so you can get wherever you need to go.