What Is a Drive Belt, and When Should You Change Belts in Your Car?
September 21st, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
When it comes to drive belts, multiple types are necessary to keep your car running. If you know about the different kinds of drive belts, you can properly maintain them and replace them as needed.
What Is a Drive Belt? Here’s What You Need to Know
There are three types of drive belts:
1. Serpentine Belt
A serpentine belt is located under the hood of a car, and it “snakes” its way between various pulleys and accessories. This type of drive belt is usually found in cars produced after 1990. It also tends to last longer than other types of drive belts, is simple to install and remove, and transmits power between a car’s air conditioner compressor, water pump, alternator, and steering pump.
A V-belt runs off a crank and pulley and typically travels between one or two engine accessories. Older cars often have several V-belts used for power steering, air conditioning, and other operating essentials. V-belts can be more difficult to change than serpentine belts. Additionally, if V-belts become loose, they can cause your alternator to malfunction and lead your engine to overheat.
3. Timing Belt
A timing belt links your car engine’s crankshaft to its camshaft; the crankshaft helps the engine’s pistons rotate, while the camshaft helps open and close engine valves. It can be tough to see the timing belt due to the fact that it is likely hidden underneath a timing cover. However, the timing belt should not be ignored; otherwise, if the timing belt wears down and malfunctions, it may result in a costly, time-intensive engine rebuild.
How Often Should You Change the Belts in Your Car?
It is often beneficial to change the drive belts in your car approximately every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. By undergoing annual car inspections, you can have your drive belts evaluated. If any signs of damage or severe wear and tear are identified, the belts can be replaced.
Bad Serpentine Belt Symptoms
There are many signs that your car’s serpentine belt may need to be replaced, and these include:
- Squealing noise from the front of your car
- Power steering stops working
- Air conditioning stops working
- Engine overheats
- Cracking on the belt
Bad V-Belt Symptoms
The signs of a defective V-belt are identical to those of a faulty serpentine belt.
Bad Timing Belt Symptoms
Common signs of a failing timing belt include:
- Ticking noise comes from the engine
- Engine will not ignite
- Engine frequently misfires
- Oil leaks from the front of the motor
The timing belt dictates whether your car’s engine will run.
If you notice one or more of the aforementioned signs of a bad belt, take your car to a certified auto repair shop. This will allow you to have your car inspected by expert technicians who can diagnose and correct a defective belt as soon as possible to prevent any engine damage.
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto Columbus, a leading industry expert and collision repair shop servicing the Central Ohio communities, including Reynoldsburg, Brice, Pickerington, Whitehall, Groveport, Canal Winchester, Blacklick, Bexley, Gahanna, German Village, Obetz, and many more.
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