Have you ever noticed a squeaking or squealing noise coming from under the hood of your car? If this is more noticeable on chilly mornings or while accelerating, you may have a serpentine belt related issue. Not only is this annoying, but it can also lead to more serious issues and breakdowns if you ignored it. This article will explain the purpose of a serpentine belt and how to tell if you have a bad one.

What is a serpentine belt?

Providing an energy for moving the car is only one of the engines’ functions, as it also powers several other devices. You will find things like a power-steering pump, alternator, or an AC compressor mounted on the side of most modern engines. All of them take the power from the engine itself using a serpentine or auxiliary belt. This is a very durable rubber band that routes around the pulleys and makes them turn. There is also a belt tensioner, which pushes the belt against the pulley grooves to ensure sufficient grip.

Symptoms of a bad serpentine belt

Noises ranging from squeaking and squealing to whining are one of the most common symptoms you may encounter. However, a look under the hood will give a better insight into the condition of the serpentine belt and associated components.

The belt itself must be free of any visible wear marks or cracks on the ribbed side. In most cases, this happens because of normal wear over the years. However, issues like misaligned pulleys or faulty auxiliary components can cause belt damage such as that. Checking if the belt is tense enough is another important step, as it shows if the tensioner is firm enough. A weak tensioner will allow the belt to slip over pulleys or slap on them.

How do we replace a serpentine belt?

Driving with a bad serpentine belt assembly can damage various associated components as a result of excessive vibration and heat. It can even break apart and disable important systems, like power steering or battery charging. To prevent this from happening, it is important to change the serpentine belt in regular intervals. Replacing the serpentine belt is a straightforward job on its own, which only involves slacking the tensioner and re-routing the belt. However, gaining access is a different story, because of the limited space and various components in the way. On some cars, you may even have to remove various intake parts or engine mounts.

How important is this service?

As we have explained in this article, examining the serpentine belt and replacing it if needed is not very complicated. However, if you don’t have the right tools or don’t feel up to the job, consider hiring a professional. At FixMyCar, we have certified and seasoned technicians that can come to your home and solve all serpentine belt issues. This will ensure that all important components are checked and your car is ready to hit the road.