When You Do Not Know What A Serpentine Belt Is
We all in Denver have those days when we’ve got a bunch of errands to run all over town. Suppose on the day off you need to get gas, pick up some groceries, swing by your local ATM and pick the kids up from school. So now you could make four separate trips, but that will be a waste of money and time and totally inefficient. Instead you get hit and organized the ATM first and get some gas next. Then you go to your Denver supermarket and pick up the kids on the road home. That’s a much better consumption of your time.
So now you may wonder what this has to do with a serpentine belt. Well, back into the day, all of your engine’s accessories, for example the alternator and air conditioner, were powered by separate belts. A vehicle could have five or six belts. These days, vehicles have a single belt to operate all the accessories. Efficiently connecting each accessory, it’s known as the serpentine belt because it snakes around everything. Just like bundling your errands.
A pulley attached to the engine’s crank provides the power to turn the serpentine belt. The belt offers the power for your power steering pump, making it easier to steer your vehicle. Next, comes the alternator which generates electricity to run the vehicle’s electrical system and charge the battery. Onto the air conditioning compressor. This helps make your cold air to keep you comfortable all during the summer here in Denver.
On some vehicles – the water pump, radiator fan and the power brakes will also be run through the serpentine belt. Some have even two serpentine belts. Irrespective of how your engine is arranged, you won’t get very far without a serpentine belt. Your auto manufacturer has a recommended interval for inspecting your belt along with your Denver service adviser can inspect it for any damage or wear.
Finally, there is a belt tensioner. Its job is to apply pressure on the belt to keep it tight. A long period ago, manufacturers started making serpentine belts out of a whole new material. It’s harder to tell once the belt must be replaced, although it is much more durable. The old style belts would chunks and crack would fall off therefore you could easily see whenever you needed a replacement.
If the ribs wear too deep, it’s time to replace it, on the new style belt. Your service technician relies on a simple gauge to tell as soon as the belt is worn and you need a serpentine belt replacement. A worn belt stresses your engine’s expensive accessories and causes them to wear out prematurely. So change your serpentine belt and belt tensioner as recommended and extend the lifestyle of your accessories and prevent future breakdowns.