Belts & Hoses
Q: How often should I have my belts and hoses looked at?
A: It is recommended that you have your belts and hoses checked with every oil change. All the rubber parts on your car wear out more quickly here in the desert. Things like wiper blades, motor mounts, belts, hoses and tires just don’t last as long due to the heat and the extreme dry conditions. That’s why here at BRAKEmax with every service we always perform a 22 point safety inspection.
Most belts and hose fail from the inside out. Rubber hose deteriorate with age and exposure to heat. The hose material can become hard and brittle. Tiny cracks develop in the rubber which eventually cause the hose to split, blister or leak. Oil on the outside of coolant hose can also accelerate the breakdown of the hose material. Today's bimetal cast iron/aluminum engines and aluminum radiators can create conditions that set up an electrical current in the coolant. The inside surface of the hose becomes a conductor, which causes the material to pit and weaken. Cracks and striations tend to form near the ends of the hose that eventually eat through from the inside out causing the hose to fail.
Belts likewise deteriorate with heat and mileage. Every time a belt passes around a pulley, it bends and flexes. This produces heat in the belt which hardens the rubber over time. The wear process can be greatly accelerated if the belt is loose and slips. The additional friction between belt and pulley will make a belt run even hotter. After millions of such journeys around the pulleys, even the best drive belt begins to suffer the effects of age. The rubber begins to crack and fray, and the internal cords become weakened and brittle. If your belt breaks you will loose whatever functions powered by the belt like your water pump, alternator, power steering, air conditioning, etc...
Hose Warning Signs
- Your vehicle overheats
- Your coolant light comes on
- Your heater does not work
- You smell antifreeze
Belt Warning Signs
- Your battery or check engine light comes on
- Your belts squeal when your turn on or drive your car
- Your ac wont work
BRAKEmax Car Car Centers Maintenance Tips: The Belt Goes OnPosted February 7, 2012 10:41 AM
Today's BRAKEmax Car Car Centers auto maintenance article focuses on your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems. Let’s go over them.
First, the serpentine belt drives your air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Tucson.
Next, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your vehicle’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. All Tucson drivers should know that 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 and power brakes. And, on many vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within normal operating temperatures as you drive around tucson. Now on some vehicles, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.
So you can see the serpentine belt does a lot of work. And it if breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why manufacturers and your service advisor at BRAKEmax Car Car Centers have recommended that it be changed every so often so that it doesn’t fail.
Your BRAKEmax Car Care Centers service technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon and will measure the amount of belt material to make sure there is enough.
Most vehicles have 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 BRAKEmax Car Car Centers, we will check the tensioner to make sure that it is good enough to hold the necessary tension to keep the belt spinning all of your important accessories.
All in all, the serpentine belt is an important part for the function of your car. And it’s not that expensive to replace – so it’s good to do so before it fails.