Frequently Asked Questions About A Car's Serpentine Belt

If you go in to get an oil change on your car, and the auto shop tells you your serpentine belt needs to be replaced, you may find yourself with many questions. Here are a few frequently asked questions you may have about a car's serpentine belt.

What is the Serpentine Belt?

The serpentine belt is a vital part of your car. It is the belt responsible for turning or driving multiple parts connected to the engine. Some of those parts includes the:

  • Air conditioning compressor
  • Air pump
  • Alternator
  • Power steering pump
  • Water pump

How Long Does the Serpentine Belt Last?

A serpentine belt generally lasts about 60,000 to 100,000 miles. However, extreme weather conditions, such as extremely hot or cold temperatures, can cause it to wear faster. Additionally, newer belts are being designed to last longer. Read your owner's manual to get an idea as to how long the serpentine belt in your vehicle should last.

What are the Signs it Needs to be Replaced?

There are many signs that a serpentine belt is wearing and need to be replaced. The most obvious signs are fraying or cracking. If the edges of the belt are fraying or there are noticeable cracks in the belt, it is time to replace it. Another sign that a serpentine belt is aging is that the rubber is beginning to peel off the belt. Lastly, a worn belt may make a squealing or screeching sound. This is because the belt may be stretched or not properly aligned due to age. The belt can be checked during a routine car inspection or when an oil change is being done.

What Happens If it Isn't Replaced?

If a mechanic recommends that your serpentine belt be replaced, you may find yourself wondering what happens if you don't replace it. The belt is responsible for powering a wide array of items in your car. If the belt snaps or breaks, those items may not work. This can cause your air conditioner or your power steering to go out. Additionally, if you continue to drive once the belt has broken, you can cause damage to those parts. And unfortunately, that damage can be costly to repair. As such, it is always important to replace the serpentine belt when recommended.

When you go to get the oil changed in your car, you don't want to hear that something is wrong with the car. Unfortunately though, it can happen. If your serpentine belt is worn, you will want to take it to an auto repair shop, like Blue Valley Garage, to have the belt replaced as quickly as possible.