Most vehicles use a serpentine belt to run the engines accessories. If you’ve ever heard a squealing sound under your vehicle hood, chances are it was your Serpentine belt. More importantly, the serpentine belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your vehicle’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.
The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).
Most vehicles, the belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some Chicago cars, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.
When they understand what it does, Chicago drivers realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why vehicle manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owner’s manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owner’s manual, come see us at Triangle Auto Service.
At Triangle Auto Service in Chicago, your professional technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.
If it has lost a significant amount of thickness, it also needs to be replaced. Talk to your service advisor at Triangle Auto Service. There’s a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there’s a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn’t slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Triangle Auto Service, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.
As mentioned, a squealing sound could alert you that the belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your vehicle.
All in all, the serpentine belt is very important to the operation of your vehicle. And it’s not that expensive to replace at Triangle Auto Service – so it’s good to do so before it fails.
Triangle Auto Service
4060 N. Elston
Chicago, Illinois 60618