What is a serpentine belt?

The serpentine belt – is used to drive several components attached to the engine. It drives the alternator that powers the electrical system and recharges the battery. It also drives the power steering pump, the air conditioning compressor, and the water pump. In older vehicles, multiple drive belts were used to turn pulleys attached to these components. Most newer vehicles use a single belt; the serpentine belt to do the job.

How does the serpentine belt work?

As the engine’s crankshaft pulley turns, it drives the serpentine belt. In turn, the serpentine belt drives the pulleys for the other systems including the air conditioning, alternator, water pump, cooling fan, and power steering.

What are the symptoms related to a bad serpentine belt?

Over time serpentine belts stretch, crack, and the ribs that ride on the accessory pulleys being to wear smooth. A squealing noise is caused by the belt slipping on the pulleys. As a result, ineffective air conditioning, a battery warning light, or intermittent power steering assist can result from this.

Can I drive with a serpentine belt problem?

The belt should be inspected as soon as possible. If left too long the belt can come off the pulley or shred which could leave you stranded.

How often do serpentine belts need to be replaced?

Replacement intervals vary by vehicle and driving conditions.

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