Signs Your Serpentine Belt Needs To Be Replaced

Posted on: 26 August 2016

The serpentine belt, also occasionally referred to as a drive belt, is an important part of your car. This rubber belt helps to operate the tensioner, idler, and pulleys inside of your vehicle. These parts help to power your air conditioner, power steering, and alternator. Unfortunately, this belt doesn't last forever. Fortunately, you typically have a few warning signs before this happens. Here are three warning signs that your serpentine belt may be in need of repair.  

The Belt Shows Signs of Wear

The best way to tell if your serpentine belt may need to be replaced is to inspect it. After letting your engine cool, open up the hood of your car and take a look inside. The longest rubber belt that you see running around the engine is the serpentine belt. If you notice cracks or fraying in the belt, it needs to be replaced. If you don't feel comfortable inspecting the belt, ask an auto repair shop when you have any preventative maintenance done, such as oil changes.

You Hear Squealing

Another sign that is indicative of serpentine belt problems is a squealing sound that occurs when the car is running. This typically indicates that the belt is not properly aligned or has slipped. However, it could also indicate that the belt is broken. Unfortunately, a squealing sound can also be attributed to other belts in the vehicle, such as the timing belt. If you hear a squealing sound, you will want to inspect your serpentine belt or have your vehicle inspected by a professional to determine what belt is the problem in a timely manner.

Your Vehicle Is Overheating

The last sign that may indicate your serpentine belt needs to be replaced is an engine that begins to overheat. If you are driving down the road and notice the gauge on your car begins to increase to hot, you should pull over. Unfortunately, there are many reasons a car may overheat, including a lack of radiator fluid or a serpentine belt that is barely operable. If you are experiencing this problem, you will want to get your car to an auto repair shop to have it inspected and determine what the problem is.

A serpentine belt typically lasts about 50,000 miles or five years. If the belt were to break, many parts in your car may fail to operate, including your air conditioner and power steering. Fortunately, there are signs that indicate the belt may be wearing or need to be replaced. The belt will show signs of wear, you may hear squealing or your car may begin to overheat if the serpentine belt needs replacing.