What to know about the Serpentine/Drive Belt:
The serpentine/drive belt or v-belt is a rubber belt that links the alternator, power steering, and AC to the part of the engine (crankshaft) which directs the power from the engine to those components. 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 called “drive belts.”
Because of the great 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.
READ ALSO: HOW TO DO DRIVE BELT TENSIONER REPLACEMENT
Facts to Note:
A car will either have 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 components. If the car has v-belts, it will most likely have four belts.
How to Fix:
Examine the belts for cracks.
Remove and change any broken-down belts.
Examine pulleys and bearings.
A mechanic should check the drive belts during oil changes. If you hear a squealing noise from the engine, it is likely that the drive belts require adjustment or replacement.
READ ALSO: HOW TO REPLACE A TIMING BELT
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 link 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 components won’t function in your vehicle. The power steering also will fail, which makes it tough and dangerous to steer. If your car’s water pump is also attached to the drive belt then the engine will not have a properly functioning cooling system, and your vehicle will be likely to overheat.