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The rubber serpentine belt on the front of the engine drives accessories like as the air-conditioning compressor, power steering pump, and alternator.
If this accessory drive belt (also called a V or serpentine belt) breaks, the battery won't get charged, the air conditioner won't blow cold air and the power steering will go out. In addition, if the belt drives the water pump, the engine could overheat.
Most manufacturers call for periodic inspection of the belt as part of scheduled maintenance, but few list a specific replacement interval, and inspection intervals vary widely.
Belts can last many years before they become cracked or frayed and need to be replaced. We inspect belts and hoses on every service, but they should be inspected at least annually on vehicles that are more than a few years old.
Belts should always be inspected and replaced by a professional. It can be hard to tell how worn one is with a visual check because synthetic belts are less likely to crack or lose chunks of rubber than other types.
A serpentine belt that isn't cracked or frayed may look like it's in good shape, but grooves on the hidden side may be worn enough that the belt slips on the pulleys that drive the accessories. That will cause problems in systems that rely on the belt to keep things humming.
A slipping drive belt may cause a squealing noise under acceleration and the alternator to work intermittently or at reduced power, and the battery won't get fully recharged as a result, perhaps triggering a warning light.
Most modern vehicles use belts made from a synthetic rubber that lasts longer than older types of engine belts. Most belt manufacturers estimate the typical lifespan of a synthetic belt to be 50,000 to 60,000 miles, and some say it's more than 100,000 miles.
If you have any questions about your serpentine belt or vehicle in general. let us know how we can help.
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