You know that long belt that snakes
around the front of your engine? It’s 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 doesn’t it?
If your serpentine belt were to break on one of our Omaha Nebraska 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.
Your vehicle won't run if the serpentine belt breaks
20 percent of vehicles on the road today need a
serpentine belt replacement. A worn belt can not only break without warning, it can slip
and damage important engine accessories. Have your belt inspected and replace it if it
is worn or damaged. You'll be glad you did. At
Westgate High Tech Auto Care we install
quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at
and let us help keep you safely and economically on the road.
Check your owner’s manual for when factory maintenance is recommended for you belts and hoses,
and/or the interval recommended to replace your serpentine belt – or just
ask your Westgate High Tech Auto Care service advisor. He can inspect
the belt as well to see if it’s in trouble.
You may have been told by a service
advisor in Omaha to look for cracks in your belt to see if it needs to be replaced.
Of course, cracking is still a concern, but modern belt material doesn’t crack as often as
old belts did. What we look for these days is the thickness of the belt. We have a special
little tool at Westgate High Tech Auto Care that measures the depth of the grooves in the belt
to see if it needs replacing.
A worn belt can slip or be misaligned, putting undue stress on the accessories it runs.
Now you can imagine it’s important for the belt to be tight, so there’s 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.
A worn, loose, or misaligned belt stresses accessories
Above is a silent animation video showing key components that rely on the serpentine belt,
such as the power steering pump, alternator and A/C Compressor. The belt tensioner will also
be checked for wear by our technicians along with the belt itself. Other components such as
a decoupler pulley on the alternator, and any tension idler pulleys will be checked for
seizing. The animation video will give you a good indication how we check for belt wear,
which involved more than just inspecting for cracks, like we did in the older days.
Replacing your serpentine belt on schedule, or when an inspection warrants it, will keep you from an
What's A Serpentine Belt?
All of us in Omaha Nebraska have those days when
we've got a bunch of errands to run around the area. Suppose on your day off
you need to get gas, pick up some groceries, swing by your local ATM and get the kids from
school. Now you could make four trips, but that would be a waste of time and money – totally
inefficient. Instead you get organized and hit the ATM first and get some gas next. Then you go to
your Omaha supermarket and pick up the kids on the way home. Way better use of your time.
Now you may wonder what this has to do with your vehicle. Well, back in the day, each of your engine's
accessories, like the alternator and air conditioner, were powered by separate belts. A vehicle might
have 5 or 6 belts. These days, vehicles have a single belt to run all the accessories. It's called the
serpentine belt because it snakes around everything, efficiently connecting the accessories – like
bundling your errands.
A pulley attached to the vehicle engine's crank provides the power to turn the serpentine belt. The
belt may provide the power for the power steering pump, which makes it easier to steer your vehicle.
Next comes the alternator which generates electricity to run the vehicle's electrical system and
charge the battery. On to the air conditioning compressor; This helps make cold air to keep you
comfortable all summer long in Omaha Nebraska.
On some vehicles the water pump or radiator fan or the power brakes are also run by the serpentine
belt. Some even have two serpentine belts. No matter how your engine is arranged, you aren't going far
without a serpentine belt. Your vehicle has a recommended interval for inspecting your belt and your
technician at Westgate High Tech Auto Care can inspect it for damage or wear.
Finally, there is the belt tensioner. Its job is to apply pressure on the belt to keep it tight.
Several years ago, started making serpentine belts out of a new material. It's much more durable, but
it's harder to tell when the belt needs to be replaced. The old style belts would crack and chunks
would fall off so you could easily see when you needed a new one.
On the new style belts, if the ribs wear too deep, it's time to replace. Your uses a simple gauge to
tell when the belt is worn and you need a serpentine belt replacement. A worn belt stresses your
vehicle engine's expensive accessories and causes them to wear prematurely.
So, change your serpentine belt and belt tensioner as recommended by your friendly and knowledgeable
pros at Westgate High Tech Auto Care to extend the life of your accessories and to prevent future
Westgate High Tech Auto
Care Serpentine Belt Service
Your serpentine belt drives your alternator
and air conditioning compressor. The power steering and power brake pumps are driven by the serpentine
belt in many Omaha residents vehicles. In some vehicles, the water pump is driven by the
serpentine belt (in others it's driven by the timing belt). The radiator cooling fan on some vehicles
are also driven by the serpentine belt. Some have separate electric motors.
Serpentine belts do a lot of work, but they're tough and can last for thousands of miles, but just how
long will they last? That'll vary for each individual Omaha car. Your manufacturer or
Westgate High Tech Auto Care technician will have a recommendation for when it should be changed, but it
could need it sooner. The good news is that a visual inspection can reveal a belt that's worn.
It's often recommended that the tensioner pulley that keeps the belt at the proper tension be replaced
along with the serpentine belt. This pulley is mounted to the engine block with a spring loaded arm.
What are the warning signs that there's a problem with the serpentine belt? You may hear a squealing
sound from under the hood when accelerating. A loose belt might give you a slow, slapping sound.
If you suspect a serpentine belt problem, or if it's just been a while since it was last checked, ask
your friendly and knowledgeable Westgate High Tech Auto Care service advisor to have it looked over.
Serpentine Belt Replacement At Westgate High Tech Auto Care
The following article focuses on your serpentine belt. In some vehicles, power steering may have an
electric drive and power brakes can be vacuum driven.
And, on many vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump (on some cars, the water pump is
powered by the timing belt).
Your Westgate High Tech Auto Care service technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see
if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon and will measure the amount of belt material
to make sure there is enough.
Omaha Ohio drivers should be aware that there's a special, spring loaded pulley attached to the
engine called the tensioner pulley and sometimes an extra pulley call the idler pulley. Their job is
to make sure there's a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn't slip.
spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. That's why
it's often recommended that the tensioner, and the idler pulley if so equipped, be replaced at the
same time as the serpentine belt.
All in all, the serpentine belt's an important part for the function of your vehicle. And it's not
that expensive to replace at Westgate High Tech Auto Care – so it's good to do so before it fails.