Car Maintenance – Serpentine Belt
In days gone by, the humble car fan belt drove only the fan and the alternator.
Even though there were many shapes and sizes, it was a fairly simple thing that was easy to replace.
The modern day fan belt is so much more sophisticated.
It drives more devices which are creating greater drag on the engine, so the belt has evolved from the simple V shape to a flat belt that has multiple V’s in it, giving it better grip.
Ironically, the “fan belt” usually does not drive the fan any more, which is now electrically powered.
In many cases, the fan belt has been renamed the Serpentine Belt, due the the way that is snakes through multiple pulleys on the engine.
And often there will be more than one belt.
Today’s Chumbley’s Autocare auto maintenance article focuses on your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems. Let’s go over them.
First, the serpentine belt drives your family car air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Indianola.
The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your family car’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery.
Removing and replacing the Serpentine Belt can be an involved process.
Here’s another one that we can file under, “out of sight, out of mind – until we hear a funny noise”. Belts and hoses are some of the more inexpensive parts on a vehicle, but when they fail, they can leave you immobile. The good news is, is that they are usually easy to check and they almost never just “go” on a vehicle. They wear out over time. Before we begin, we will make an obvious statement – before performing either of these checks, make sure the engine is off & has time to cool off!
First, we’ll tackle the serpentine belt. It gets its name because it literally means like a serpent or snake – and this belt kind of snakes around all those pulleys and wheels. The only downside to this is that one belt now helps operate many systems on your engine – everything from the A/C, to the steering and cooling systems, and even your alternator! Grading Your Belts & Hoses – Before They Fail – Bangor Daily News