Car Parts Basics: the Serpentine Belt | Allstate Insurance

Hey everybody, it’s Charles from HumbleMechaniccom and today we are talking serpentine belts

The serpentine belt is a vital component on most vehicles and it has the incredibly important task of driving engine accessories The most common accessories driven by the serpentine belt are going to be the alternator the power steering pump and the AC compressor Some engines may also drive other accessories like the water pump On most vehicles, a pulley on the end of the crankshaft is what turns the belt and drives the accessories The system also consists of a tensioner to keep the belt tight and maybe even additional rollers to help guide the belt

These are commonly referred to as idler pulleys Maintenance intervals vary depending on the belt and the vehicle but typically range anywhere from 60 to 100,000 miles It's really important to perform periodic inspections on your serpentine belt Let's start with a visual inspection What you'll be looking for is: cracks across the ribs of the belt; if the belt has a non-ribbed side; perhaps any glazing or really shiny spots; or any other signs of belt damage including the edges of the belt frame

Another way to inspect the belt is to use a serpentine belt rib tool This is actually the best way to check for belt wear As the belt wears into a pulley, the depth of the ribs become even deeper This is a normal condition, but it may be really hard to see Using a tool like this, that can be purchased at most auto parts stores, is really the best way to inspect the belt

When you set this tool on the ribbed portion of the belt, it can show how much wear the belt has on it Also, any oil or coolant saturation on the belt means it's time to replace it and fix those leaks In addition to normal wear and tear, we also want to be aware of some types of failures A complete failure of a serpentine belt is when the belt breaks or comes off the rollers This means the accessories are not being driven and may result in no charging voltage, no AC or no power steering, and in certain cases can lead to vehicles overheating

We also may encounter some noise, like a squeak noise, when a serpentine belt’s worn out Not only is it common when the belt wears but this can also be the sign of a failing tensioner or a failing bearing in any one of the pulleys When it comes to replacement of a serpentine belt, it's usually pretty straightforward and requires very simple, basic hand tools Most of the time, the biggest challenge is actually getting to the belt itself When you're doing the belt, draw out the pattern of the belt on a piece of paper or take a picture with your phone to help remind you of the routing of the belt

If you guys have any serpentine belt questions or comments, feel free to leave them down below If you want to check out more of my videos head over to HumbleMechaniccom Alright guys, thank you guys so much for watching, and I’ll see you next time

Source: Youtube

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