5 Signs of a Failing Serpentine Belt on Your Car
The serpentine belt on the front of the engine in your car is critical, and if you suspect a problem with it, you need to have an auto specialist check it out right away. Watch for the following signs that indicate the belt is beginning to wear excessively. It is essential to change the belt before failure so you don’t find yourself stranded on the road.
A belt that has excessive wear or damage to it may produce a squealing sound when the engine runs. The squealing sound is most likely due to the belt slipping or a misaligned pulley. The noise is an indication that the belt needs replacing as soon as possible. Sometimes the squealing will start as a very light sound, but over time the squealing will get worse until the belt finally fails.
As soon as you notice the squealing sound coming from under your hood, take your car into your local Tire Works mechanic and have them check the belt. Some stores offer treatment or dressings as a DIY fix for your belts. These products may quiet the squealing if the belt is slipping but can damage the rubber on the belt, causing it to fail sooner.
Power Steering Failure
If the power steering on your car suddenly stops working, the cause may be your serpentine belt slipping on the power steering pulley. If the belt is not turning the pulley at full speed, the pump may not put out enough pressure for the steering to work correctly.
You should check the power steering fluid in the reservoir if that is the only accessory not working, but if it is full and you don’t see any leaks under the car, a slipping belt may be the cause.
Air Conditioning Failure
Another common sign of a slipping serpentine belt is an air conditioner that no longer produces cold air. Like the power steering pump, the air conditioning compressor depends on the belt spinning the pulley at a specific speed for it to work efficiently. If the belt is unable to turn the compressor at full speed, the compressor cannot cool the air going through it properly.
The lack of cold air might have nothing to do with the belt, but if your AC doesn’t work and the belt squeaks, the belt is probably the culprit.
Unexplained Temperature Increase
Another sign that your belt may be slipping is a sudden increase in the engine temperature. The serpentine belt drives the water pump pulley, which pumps water from the engine to the radiator and back.
If the pump is not functioning correctly, the engine will not get the cold water that it needs, and the engine temperature will begin to rise. Sometimes the engine temperature may increase slowly, but most likely the temperature will suddenly increase, indicating a problem with the pump.
Unexplained Dead Batteries
Like the water pump, the alternator depends on the belt spinning the pulley at a specific speed for optimal charging. If the belt starts to slip, the battery can discharge over time.
A discharging battery is more likely to happen at night when your lights are on or in the winter when you’re running the heat in your car. The lights on the dash may come on at once, indicating multiple problems under the hood if the belt slips badly or suddenly breaks.
At Tire Works Total Car Care, our technicians can diagnose and replace a worn, damaged, or broken serpentine belt. We can handle all of your preventive maintenance needs, as well as engine repair, tire replacement, and other necessities. Call for an appointment or stop by and see us today.