Belts & Hoses
Exposure to heat, vibration and
contamination makes belts and hoses wear out faster than any other
components in your car. That's why regular inspections are so important.
Here are the belt and hose types in your car, along with their
Accessory Drive Belts
While some accessories in your
car are electrically powered by the charging system, others use the engine
itself as their power source. The power for these accessories is delivered
by a system of pulleys and belts. Examples of these accessories are:
Water Pump for engine cooling
Power Steering Pump
Air Conditioning Compressor
Radiator Cooling Fan
Many late model cars use a
single serpentine belt in place of individual belts to drive these
The hoses that convey your
car's fluids are made of two rubber layers with a layer of fabric in
between. Typical hoses include:
Radiator and Heater Hoses -
These hoses convey coolant to the engine and heater core.
Fuel Hose - As the name
implies, this hose transports gasoline from the tank to the engine.
Power Steering Hose - It
connects the power steering pump to the steering gear.
You know that long belt
that snakes around the front of your engine? Itís called the serpentine
belt. The serpentine belt is driven by the engine as it turns.
It powers your alternator, air conditioning compressor,
and power steering pump. On some vehicles it also runs
the water pump, radiator fan, and power brakes.
Sounds like a lot of important stuff doesnít it?
If your serpentine belt were to break on one of our
roads, your battery would die in a few miles. If it runs your fan or
water pump, your engine could overheat. And steering and braking
could be more difficult. Obviously, the best thing is to replace
your serpentine belt before it breaks.
Check your ownerís manual for when itís recommended that you replace
your serpentine belt Ė or just ask a service
advisor at Royal Car Care & Tire Center. We can inspect the belt as well to
see if itís in trouble.
You may have been told by a service advisor to look for
cracks in your belt to see if it needs to be replaced. Of course,
cracks are still a concern, but modern belt material doesnít crack
as often as old belts did. What we look for these days is the
thickness of the belt. There are tools available that measures the
depth of the grooves in the belt to see if it needs replacing.
ned, putting undue stress on the
accessories it runs.
Now you can imagine itís important for the belt to be tight, so
thereís a tensioner pulley on your engine that puts pressure
on the belt to keep it at the right tension. The spring on the
tensioner wears out over time so we recommend replacing the
tensioner pulley at the same time as the serpentine belt.
Replacing your serpentine belt on schedule, or when an inspection
warrants it, will keep you from an unexpected breakdown.
Serpentine Belt Replacement
Timing Belt Repair &
Letís address a very important maintenance item Ė timing belt replacement. Itís important because letting this one
slide can lead to very expensive engine damage.
Your timing belt choreographs the timing of your combustion process. Your pistons travel up and down in the cylinder.
Intake valves open at the right time to let in air and fuel, they close at the right time to allow the fuel to burn
and then the exhaust valves open at the right time to let out the exhaust.
All this happens thousands of times a minute and itís your timing belt that makes sure the valves are opening and
closing at precisely the right time. If the timing is off, your engine wonít run. And thatís the best case.
The worst case is that a valve is opening at the wrong time and collides with the piston. The result is bent valves
and maybe even more damage to the cylinder head. Repairs can run several thousand dollars.
Now, timing belts just wear out naturally so you want to replace a worn belt before it slips or breaks. Check your
ownerís manual or with your service advisor to see when they recommend you replace the timing belt. If youíve never
replaced your timing belt and have 60,000 or more miles on the clock, talk with your service advisor right away to see
if youíre due.
On some engines, the water pump is driven by the timing belt as opposed to the serpentine belt. If thatís the case,
itís a good idea to replace the water pump when youíre replacing the timing belt, and vice versa since much of the
same work has to be done for either. The same is true for the timing belt tensioner Ė it should be inspected and
Now, replacing a timing belt is one of the more expensive routine maintenance items on your service schedule. But not
replacing your timing belt can lead to some of the most expensive repairs youíre likely to ever have.
Timing Belt Replacement
Radiator & Coolant Hoses
and coolant hoses are vital to keep your engine from overheating.
With time and use, hoses become brittle and weak. Don't wait for a
failed radiator or coolant hose to leave you stranded.
Upper Radiator Hose
Lower Radiator Hose
Cooling hoses should be
replaced every 5 years or 100,000 miles.