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Let’s start with what is hopefully obvious. Drive belts are belts. They’re simply rubber belts. But they do a lot more important things than hold your pants up, though trust me: That task is very important.
Drive belts, which are often referred to as fan belts, are responsible for bringing power to many of the different components in your car. Most notably, your car’s AC compressor, alternator, power steering, and water pump get their energy from the drive belts.
So, how does that work? It’s remarkably basic. All of the components that rely on the drive belt for power have pulleys. The belt wraps around those pulleys. It also wraps around the crankshaft pulley. As the engine works and they crankshaft goes into action, the crankshaft pulley turns, which sets the drive belt in motion. The belt being in motion spins the other pulleys, which brings power to each of those systems.
Cars have two different types of external belts: V-belts and serpentine belts. V-belts are a bit shorter, and modern cars use two of them to split up the work. Serpentine belts are longer, and cars with serpentine belts have just one belt.
Drive belts are rather durable, but over time they can crack, break, tear, or become brittle. Serpentine belts usually last a longer time than V-belts do, so if you have one of them, then it’s your lucky day.
Well, let’s just get this out in the open, shall we? I know you’re not exactly a fan of the warning lights that illuminate on your car’s dashboard. Ignorance sure is bliss, right? Well, until your car breaks down, and it costs you an arm and a leg to fix it. Not so blissful then. So, here’s the thing: The warning lights come on to let you know when your car has an issue, so you can fix that issue before it becomes more serious (read: expensive). If a drive belt in your car breaks, or isn’t operating properly, multiple systems will begin to lose their power. In most cars, that will wave a red flag that triggers a warning light...or three.
One of the systems that your car’s drive belt powers is the alternator. The alternator is what charges your battery while the car is driving, and gives a lot of power to electrical units while the car is in use. Without an alternator, your car’s battery won’t charge, and it will eventually run out of juice. At that point you won’t be able to turn your car on. In shocking news, not being able to turn your car on means you have a problem. That problem could be the drive belt.
When the drive belt is slipping off of the pulleys, or when it’s a little bit too loose, it will begin to squeal or squeak. It will kind of sound like there are some birds hanging out under the hood of your car. I sincerely hope I don’t need to tell you that weird noises are generally a bad sign that something's off with your car.
On many vehicles, drive belts provide the power necessary for the water pump to work. The water pump is a key part of your car’s cooling system, and when it’s not working, your engine doesn’t have a secure way of staying at a safe temperature. In other words, if a drive belt fails, the motor may be at risk of overheating. Thankfully your car has a handy dandy engine temperature gauge on the dashboard. So, do everyone a favor and pay attention to it.
Have you ever felt your steering wheel suddenly feel heavier, as it becomes harder and harder to steer? No, it isn’t because you lost your biceps, though would it hurt you to go to the gym now and again? It’s probably because you lost your power steering. There are a few different things that can cause a loss of power steering, including a malfunctioning drive belt, which provides the power for hydraulic power steering systems.
I’m gonna guess that you don’t spend a ton of time with the hood popped, staring at your engine. If you do, I probably wouldn’t be here explaining drive belts to you. If you do happen to take a peak under your hood from time to time, keep an eye on your belts. Over time you may notice them grow rigid or develop cracks. It’s time for a replacement when that happens.Get a Quote 1-Year | 12,000-Mile Warranty
Well, let’s recap. If your car loses its drive belts it may not be able to turn on, and, if it does turn on, it may cause the engine to overheat.
So, I think we both know the answer here. It’s time to get that drive belt replaced.
1-Year | 12,000-Mile Warranty