Your serpentine belt is an essential part of your car engine. It is responsible for charging your battery, cooling your engine and making it easy to steer your vehicle. If your serpentine belt fails then your engine can die shortly after. You need to make sure that you know when your serpentine belt is having problems and get it replaced. Here are some things that you should know.
Dangers of a Bad Serpentine Belt
You can run into very serious problems if your serpentine belt breaks or becomes too loose. Some of the dangers this can cause include the following:
- Your car won’t be able to run the cooling fan or water pump. This can cause your engine to overheat.
- Many of the accessories to your vehicle may stop working when your car runs out of power.
- You may start having trouble steering the vehicle safely, especially if you are driving at high speeds.
You need to look for signs that your serpentine belt may not be working properly. You should get it fixed immediately if you think there is anything wrong. Failing to do so can cost thousands of dollars in repairs to your engine down the road.
Signs that Your Serpentine Belt May Have Problems
There are a few signs that you could have a problem with your serpentine belt. Unfortunately, many people ignore many of the sounds in their vehicle. Here are some of the signs that you need to pay attention to:
- Your car engine is squealing continuously. This is a sign that your serpentine belt is starting to wear out.
- You are having trouble steering easily.
- You hear a chirping sound or any sound that seems to follow a pattern. This can indicate that the pulley is misaligned and may be causing damage to your serpentine belt as well.
If you hear any of these sounds then you should take a look at your belt. Any frays along the edges are signs that the belt is starting to wear down. If you see any cracks then you should replace the belt immediately.
Serpentine belts should last between 60,000 and 100,000 miles. However, your belt may start having trouble at any time. You will need to pay attention to any sounds in your vehicle.
Replacing Your Belt
Replacing a serpentine belt can cost a couple hundred dollars. This is pretty insignificant compared to the cost of replacing your engine if the belt fails completely. You can either try to replace the belt yourself or ask your mechanic to do it for you. Either way you will need to make sure that the belt is right for your vehicle.
You shouldn’t replace your serpentine belt on your own unless you really know what you are doing. Popular Mechanics has a great guide that you should look at if you don’t have any formal training. If you are going to hire a mechanic then you should make sure that they are honest and know what they are doing.
About the author: Kalen has a mechanical engineering degree and shares tips for people who are having trouble with their vehicles and other appliances. He suggests that you buy new parts from U Pull & Pay. He also blogs about consumer finance and saving money.