When do I need to replace the belts on my vehicle? Although it’s a broad question, it is a question we hear a lot at the shop from our customers. Did you know that there can be more than one belt in your vehicle? While some vehicles only have one belt, other vehicles can have two belts including the accessory belts and/or serpentine belts. Let us help you gain more knowledge on the belts in your vehicle.
To begin, let’s start by talking about the vehicle’s serpentine belt (which is a single belt). This belt keeps various systems in your vehicle functioning properly. The serpentine belt in your vehicle keeps the power steering, air conditioning, water pump, and alternator all functioning the way they need too. This belt generally lasts between 50,000 and 100,000 miles depending on driving conditions. The vehicle’s belt will eventually wear down from continuous exposure to heat and friction causing the belt to need replacement. As the belt ages and wears down, the rubber eventually starts to crack, fray, or split. If the belt gets to that point it may start squealing or chirping. This sound indicates that the pulley (that holds and spins the belt) and the belt are not working properly. When this belt fails your vehicle’s functions such as the alternator and power steering may stop working. If this belt breaks and the power steering pump cannot operate, you will have no powering steering assist. In addition, if the alternator starts to fail it cannot charge the battery and the water pump in the vehicle cannot circulate coolant throughout the engine. Having this belt replaced when recommended will help reduce the chance of your vehicle breaking down unexpectedly.