The ins and outs of your car’s serpentine belt

May 13th, 2020 by

Do you feel comfortable making decisions about car care and auto repairs? Not many drivers do. What does on under the hood is pretty much a mystery to a lot of people, and we get it – that’s why we have Clermont Toyota service experts waiting to assist you with all of your car care needs. However, we feel that having a basic idea of how your car and its parts work can help you feel more confident when it comes to making decisions about your vehicle. Today we’re taking on the serpentine belt – learn what it does, how to maintain it, what happens if it breaks, and be able to spot signs that you’re due for a replacement.

serpentine belt

What is the purpose of the serpentine belt?

Let’s talk about what the serpentine belt is, first of all. This belt is essential to performance because it transports power to major accessories like your car’s alternator, water pump, power steering pump, and air conditioning. Without it, you’re going nowhere fast (literally, because your car won’t start without a working alternator). The serpentine belt is long and winding (thus its name) and is much more efficient at driving power to all of these parts. They all used to have individual belts attached to them, but that proved to be inefficient because they all wore at different rates and had to be replaced at different times, which means way more maintenance than necessary.

Obviously, the serpentine belt plays an important role in performance. So what happens if it breaks? Not only will you have a ton of performance problems as important accessories lose power, but the belt can also damage other parts of your engine when it breaks. All in all, you’re in for some expensive repairs to get your car up and running again. That’s why it’s essential to pay attention to this part; our Clermont Toyota service techs can do a quick visual inspection of it when you come in. And even better news? You shouldn’t have to replace it often. Serpentine belts are made of thick, durable rubber and should last 60,000 – 100,000 miles on average.

auto repairs

Signs you need Clermont auto repairs for this part

So how do you know if it’s about to break? There are a few telltale signs you can be on the lookout for whenever you’re behind the wheel:

  • You can see cracks or wear on the belt
  • Pieces of rubber are flaking off of it
  • The belt has a strange shiny or glazed look to it
  • You can’t start your car due to alternator issues
  • Your power steering goes out
  • You have issues with your air conditioning or water pump
  • Squealing or chirping noises start coming from underneath the hood (this is due to a loose belt, which occurs because of wear and tear, stretching, a broken pulley, or a leak inside the engine)
  • Your check engine light comes on (this can mean a lot of things, we know – but it’s worth having our Clermont auto service techs take a look, especially if it happens alongside any of these other signs)

Think you might need auto repairs or replacement for your serpentine belt? Schedule today at Toyota of Clermont – we’re open seven days a week at 16851 State Road 50, and you can call us at (352) 404-7001.

Posted in Toyota Service