What to know about the Serpentine/Drive Belt:
The serpentine/drive belt or v-belt is a rubber belt that joins the alternator, power steering, and AC to the part of the engine (crankshaft) which transfers the power from the engine to those parts. Without this belt, the battery will not get charged and none of the electrical accessory components in the car will work. The serpentine belt and v-belt are also identified as “drive belts.”
SEE ALSO:WHAT IS THE SERPENTINE/DRIVE BELT
Because of the high amount of heat in the engine, the belt can develop cracks over time and eventually break. If the belt breaks, the steering wheel will be difficult to turn and driving will be hazardous.
In some cars, water pumps are driven by the drive belts. If the belt breaks, water and coolant required to keep the engine cool will not correctly flow to the engine. The engine will overheat, potentially causing severe damage.
Facts to Note:
Cars will have one or the other a serpentine belt(s) or v-belt(s). Cars that have a serpentine belt will have one or two belts. Most modern cars have only one belt, driving all the engine accessory parts. If the car has v-belts, it will most likely have four belts.
How to Fix:
Examine the belts for cracks.
Take away and change any damaged belts.
Inspect pulleys and bearings.
A mechanic should inspect the drive belts during oil changes. If you hear a squealing noise from the engine, it is likely that the drive belts need adjustment or replacement.
Common symptoms indicating you may need to change the Serpentine/Drive Belt:
Squealing noise coming from engine if the belt is loose or worn out.
Lack of steering if the belt is broken.
Battery Warning Light is on.
Importance of this service:
The drive belts connect the engine to the alternator, air conditioning, power steering, and sometimes the water pump. These belts are how power is transferred from the engines to these other systems. When the belts break, the engine will be unable to transfer power to the alternator, air conditioning, and power steering. Since the alternator is in control of charging your battery, a broken drive belt means that the electrical parts will not function in your vehicle. The power steering also will fail, which makes it difficult and dangerous to steer. If your car’s water pump is also linked to the drive belt then the engine will not have a correctly functioning cooling system, and your vehicle will be likely to overheat.