When Do You Need to Have Your Vehicle’s Belts Replaced?

One of the most critical aspects of responsible car ownership is preventative upkeep. The fundamental idea is to be atop all vehicle service and repair requirements, addressing issues before they become much larger problems. Among the key aspect in preventative vehicle maintenance is replacing the belts.

The two belts you require to be conversant with as far as car maintenance is concerned are the timing belt and the serpentine belt.

Timing belt

This belt synchronizes the vehicle’s camshaft and crankshaft actions: This harmonizes the working of all your engine valves, ensuring that the engine operates as intended.

Serpentine belt 

This belt carries power to several key vehicle components: power steering pump, air conditioning and the alternator. In some vehicles, this belt is also connected to the water pump.

Maintenance of the fan belts and serpentine belts in your vehicle is very crucial to the general health of your car. Failure of these belts can lead to extreme damage to the engine, the power steering pump and the alternator. Failure to have timely replaced your vehicle’s belts can result in more expensive and arduous repair needs.

How do I know when I need to replace my cars belts?

It is often beneficial to replace vehicle drive belts after approximately 60,000 to 100,000 miles. By carrying out annual car inspections, you can get your belts assessed. In case any signs of serious wear and tear or damage are noticed, you can change the belts. Over time, the vehicle’s drive belt develops wear and tear due to the heat generated by the engine. In due course, the belt breaks, making steering difficult. In vehicles in which the crankshaft controls the drive belt, breakage can cause overheating of the engine, leading to grave problems for your car.

Nonetheless, there are several signs that your vehicle’s belts need replacement.

Bad Serpentine Belt Symptoms

 The following signs that your vehicle’s serpentine belt might require replacement.

  • Cracking on the belt
  • Squealing noise from the front of your car
  • Air conditioning ceases to function
  • Power steering stops functioning
  • Overheating of the engine

 Common signs of a failing timing belt 

Here are some signs that your timing belt is failing.

  • Ticking noise from the engine
  • Failure of the engine to ignite
  • Frequent misfiring of the engine
  • Oil leakage from the front of the vehicle’s motor

One of the most common symptoms of a failing drive belt is hearing a whining or a squealing noise underneath the hood. No wonder one of the most asked questions by car owners is, "Why is my car making a squealing noise?" 

A noisy belt may be caused by moisture or worn-out brake pads. However, it is often linked to real trouble, like oil on the belt. The squealing noise needs the attention of a mechanic to pinpoint the actual problem, and if necessary, the belt may require replacement.

All in all, if you note any of the warnings mentioned above signs of a failing belt, take your vehicle to a certified mechanic for inspection; this ensures proper diagnosis enabling timely correction of a defective belt to avert any engine damage.