Your Vehicle’s Accessory Belts Might Not Be In A Good Condition


Many cars have accessory belts that drive the alternator, the power-steering pump, the air conditioning compressor, water pump oftentimes, and other parts of a modern vehicle. Newer cars have a Serpentine multi-accessory drive belt, as shown here.

A serpentine multi-accessory drive belt.

A serpentine multi-accessory drive belt.

You have to look into the separate belts, as shown here, if you drive an older car.

Accessory belts.

Accessory belts.

If you can’t get to an accessory belt easily to check on it yourself, have it checked when you have the vehicle serviced or if the belt gets noisy or any one of the equipment it drives begins to malfunction.

It isn’t easy to figure out whether a belt is in the right tension just by taking a look at it, and frequently it’s obscured by a shield or cowling. If the belt is loose, you’ll hear squeaky noises when you accelerate sharply. With the hood up, the gearshift in Park or Neutral, and the parking brake on, have an acquaintance accelerate the engine when you listen. Make sure you keep your clothing and hair outside the belt.

They are often unsafe to deal with yourself, because tensioners are spring-loaded. Check your owner’s manual or a service manual for the vehicle’s make, model, and year to discover what’s associated with adjusting your accessory belt. If adjusting the belt requires special tools, or if it seems as though releasing the tension may be risky, you should have a professional deal with it, if you can’t reach the adjusting mechanism without removing other parts.

If you can see an accessory belt easily, here’s what to look for:

If the belt “gives” more than 1/2 inch when you press on it but otherwise is good condition, it could just need to be adjusted.

The slick surface will slip where it winds around the pulleys and it won’t be able to efficiently drive the components connected to it if the belt is glazed or has oil upon it. Or the ac may neglect to cool the interior of your vehicle, your engine may overheat because the water pump isn’t operating properly. Have the belt replaced.

If you see chunks missing from the belt or many cracks across its surface, or if it’s frayed or tearing, debris may be a part of it, or one of the pulleys may be out of alignment. The safest move is usually to replace the belt.

If the belt squeaks, it might have been contaminated by water,oil and coolant, or any other fluid. If it’s just water, check around the water pump and the hoses to see where the leak is, and eliminate the main cause of the leak. Water will dry up by itself. The belt needs to be replaced if the contaminant isoil and coolant, power-steering fluid, as well as other substance or if the belt has broken, is frayed, or has large cracks or pieces missing.

Comments are closed.