Belts and Hoses
Many experts urge replacing belts, radiator and heater hoses at specific recommended intervals to prevent your car from breaking down. Losing a belt today means big trouble for the engine because serpentine belts are used on most engines to turn the water pump, alternator, power steering and air-conditioning compressor. If the belt snaps, everything is lost and you may be stranded. Older cars use individual V-belts for these various accessories. A blown hose results in an overheated engine and can cause additional engine damage.
Why Do I Need This Service?
It’s not easy to know the true condition of a belt or hose by its outward appearance because most belts and hoses fail from the inside out. Rubber hoses can become hard and brittle, deteriorating with age and exposure to heat, causing the hose to split, blister or leak. Belts also break down with heat, mileage and age. Every time a belt passes around a pulley, it bends. Flexing produces heat that causes the rubber to harden over time. In addition, if the belt is loose or slips, the wear process can be accelerated.
- 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 also 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 also be checked for looseness.
- Replace the timing belt based on the interval specified in the owner’s manual.
Questions To Ask
- What’s the difference between a V-belt and a serpentine belt?
- Why does my aftermarket V-belt have notches?
- What are branched hoses and why might these be better for my vehicle?
- What is electrolytic corrosion and how did it get in my cooling system?
Are You Aware?
ACCORDING TO A RECENT SURVEY, NEARLY ONE-THIRD OF ALL CARS AND LIGHT TRUCKS HAVE BELTS OR HOSES THAT SHOULD PROBABLY BE REPLACED.
Reprinted with permission from the Car Care Council: www.carcare.org.