As you know, your engine is a very complex system. Surprisingly, a lot of the complicated functions can be run from a single belt, the serpentine belt. Named for its winding path around various motors in the engine, it is a crucial component for engine function. Knowing when you need serpentine belt repair or replacements is important for proper engine performance. At Gary’s Automotive, our expert technicians can help you get the most out of your vehicle.

Serpentine Belt RepairHow A Serpentine Belt Works

Many people know that your engine powers your car, but many people do not know exactly how it does this. Through the combustion cycle, your engine produces power. This power is transferred to a wheel which turns the serpentine belt in your car.  Your alternator, power steering, water pump and air conditioning are all powered by the serpentine belt. Without power to some of these areas your car simply wouldn’t start, or would be incredibly difficult to drive. The serpentine belt is one of the belts powered by your engine, and transmits the energy generated by a running engine to other parts of your vehicle, powering them. Before the creation of the modern serpentine belt, each individual motor in the engine was sometimes powered by its own belt. This lead to a complicated system of belts running across the engine. These smaller belts were often much more brittle and prone to breaking. The advantages of adopting one larger belt are numerous. One larger belt allows for greater structural integrity than a smaller belt. Having one uniform belt also helped to reduce the amount of friction acting on the engine, which increases fuel economy. The single belt also allows for higher tension, which means there is less likelihood of the belt slipping or failing. Finally, a single serpentine belt has the advantage of being easier to work on. With only one belt to replace repairs are simple, and easy to perform as the belt system takes up less room in a vehicle than old fashioned systems with multiple belts. The majority of vehicles available today will feature a single serpentine belt.

When Is It Time For Service?

With modern construction materials a serpentine belt should last quite a long time, often up to 160,000 KM. Serpentine belts are normally made with different materials. Rubber is used on the outside and the inside of the belt, with the inside being grooved parallel to the belt (vs the timing belts perpendicular grooves). Inside the rubber of the belt is strips of either nylon or steel cable, for added strength. However, It is possible for defects and wear to create a hazard earlier than that. Take a look under your hood at your serpentine belt (grooves in a serpentine belt may run parallel to the belt, in a timing belt the may run across the belt), if you notice things like cracking or fraying around the belts edges it may be time for serpentine belt repair. Other symptoms include a glazed, shiny appearance to the belt. This means the belt is being worn, and that shiny surface doesn’t grip key components as well. If you notice any squealing coming from your engine when driving, the timing belt may also be to blame.

If you suspect your belt is failing, then book Serpentine Belt Repair with the experts at your local Gary’s Automotive today!


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