Serpentine Belt Replacement
You know that long belt that snakes around the front of your engine? It’s called the serpentine belt. The serpentine belt is driven by the engine as it turns. It powers your alternator, air conditioning compressor, and power steering pump. On some vehicles it also runs the water pump, radiator fan, and power brakes. Sounds like a lot of important stuff doesn’t it?
If your serpentine belt were to break on one of our Bakersfield roads, your battery would die in a few miles. If it runs your fan or water
pump, your engine could overheat. And steering and braking could be more difficult. Obviously, the best thing is to replace your serpentine belt before it breaks.
Check your owner’s manual for when factory maintenance is recommended for you belts and hoses, and/or the interval recommended to replace your serpentine belt – or just ask your Circle M Auto & Truck Repair service advisor for assistance. He can inspect the belt as well to see if it’s in trouble.
You may have been told by a service advisor in Bakersfield, CA. to look for cracks in your belt to see if it needs to be replaced. Of course, cracking is still a concern, but modern belt material doesn’t crack as often as old belts did. What we look for these days is the thickness of the belt. We have a special little tool at Circle M Auto & Truck Repair that measures the depth of the grooves in the belt to see if it needs replacing.
A worn belt can slip or be misaligned, putting undue stress on the accessories it runs.
Now you can imagine it’s important for the belt to be tight, so there’s a tensioner pulley on your engine that puts pressure on the belt to keep it at the right tension. The spring on the tensioner wears out over time so we recommend replacing the tensioner pulley at the same time as the serpentine belt.
Replacing your serpentine belt on schedule, or when an inspection warrants it, will keep you from an unexpected breakdown.
What's A Serpentine Belt?
All of us have those days when we've got a bunch of errands to run. Suppose on your day off you need to get gas, pick up some groceries, swing by your local Bakersfield ATM and get the kids
from school. Now you could make four trips, but
that would be a waste of time and money – totally
inefficient. Instead you get organized and hit the
ATM first and get some gas next. Then you go to
your Bakersfield supermarket and pick up the
kids on the way home. Way better use of your time.
Now you may wonder what this has to do with your vehicle. Well, back in the day, each of your engine's accessories, like the alternator and air conditioner, were powered by separate belts. A vehicle might have 5 or 6 belts. These days, vehicles have a single belt to run all the accessories. It's called the serpentine belt because it snakes around everything, efficiently connecting the accessories – like bundling your errands.
A pulley attached to the vehicle engine's crank provides the power to turn the serpentine belt. The belt may provide the power for the power steering pump, which makes it easier to steer your vehicle. Next comes the alternator which generates electricity to run the vehicle's electrical system and charge the battery. On to the air conditioning compressor; This helps make cold air to keep you comfortable all summer long in Bakersfield, CA.
On some vehicles the water pump or radiator fan or the power brakes are also run by the serpentine belt. Some even have two serpentine belts. No matter how your engine is arranged, you aren't going far without a serpentine belt. Your vehicle has a recommended interval for inspecting your belt and your technician at Circle M Auto & Truck Repair can inspect it for damage or wear.
Finally, there is the belt tensioner. Its job is to apply pressure on the belt to keep it tight. Several years ago, started making serpentine belts out of a new material. It's much more durable, but it's harder to tell when the belt needs to be replaced. The old style belts would crack and chunks would fall off so you could easily see when you needed a new one.
On the new style belts, if the ribs wear too deep, it's time to replace. Your uses a simple gauge to tell when the belt is worn and you need a serpentine belt replacement. A worn belt stresses your vehicle engine's expensive accessories and causes them to wear prematurely.
So, change your serpentine belt and belt tensioner as recommended by your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Circle M Auto & Truck Repair to extend the life of your accessories and to prevent future breakdowns.
Also See: Timing Belt Replacement