Drive Belts: The Breakdown Waiting To Happen

Maintain power to all systems

When you open the hood to the engine compartment and look at the front of your vehicle’s motor you will see one or more rubberized belts. A single belt that encompasses all of the auxiliary components is called a “serpentine” belt. This belt, also known as a multi-vee, poly-v, or multi-rib belt, is a single, continuous belt that keeps various systems of your car functioning properly. Whether you have one, or more than one belt, their purpose is to turn the pulleys on devices attached to the motor so that they will function. Systems that rely on the drive belt (or belts) are air conditioning, power steering, the water pump (which helps cool the engine), the alternator and so on.

When belts fail you can lose power steering, the air conditioning may not work, and your water pump and alternator are also adversly affected. A failing belt can damage the parts it powers multiplying the repairs needed. If a belt completely breaks you will stop powering those components altogether and your vehicle will stall, which can be extremely dangerous and inconvenient.

You can usually tell when belts are beginning to wear out because you may begin to hear a chirp or squeal from the engine compartment. Especially when you first start your vehicle. Checking your belts on a regular basis for wear, fraying, cracking, or breaking, as well as tension (they can become “loose”), is a great way to utilize preventative maintenance, keeping repair costs down and making sure your vehicle doesn’t suddenly break down while you’re driving.