The belts and hoses that your vehicle is equipped with are essential parts vital to the function of your engine’s cooling, charging, and air conditioning systems. Hoses are made of flexible rubber compounds that are made to absorb the vibrations that are encountered while driving. While not much has changed with hoses within the vehicle, the belts on vehicles have changed significantly. Ensuring your belts and hoses are checked often will ensure your vehicle continues to function as it should. Following a guideline on replacing rubber elements can be confusing, especially since there’s no set mileage on when they should be changed. Living in a severe climate, the life of rubber components is limited due to the constant elements of heat and dust making them dry and brittle after time. Here, we discuss the task of each belt and hose and how to identify when replacement is necessary.
The timing belt, located on the outside of the engine, is made of rubber and allows the crankshaft to turn the camshaft. The camshaft opens and closes valves in synchrony with the engine’s pistons. If the timing belt breaks, the engine will quit working immediately and could cause major engine damage. While it’s possible the timing belt could last up to 100,000 miles, be sure the belt is inspected often.
Not all vehicles are equipped with a timing belt. Some utilize a timing chain that resides within the engine. The timing chain is different than a timing belt in that it is made of steel, requires no maintenance, and is lubricated by the engine oil. Though timing chains often last a great deal longer than timing belts, they can and do wear out. The best way to maintain a timing chain is by performing routine oil changes.
Drive belts, commonly known as serpentine belts, provide power to major components such as the air conditioning compressor, power steering pump, cooling fan, and more. While serpentine belts today have less tendency to stretch or slip, because of their rubber composition and excessive exposure to dry, hot, and cold temperatures, after time they will wear out. If the belt breaks the vehicle will still run, however, your vehicle is at risk for an overheating engine because it is unable to supply power to the water pump. If your serpentine belt goes out you may notice it’s more difficult to steer, the temperature gauge will indicate the vehicle is running hotter, and the air conditioning will struggle to produce cooler air. The serpentine belt should be inspected routinely and is most often replaced around 50,000 miles.
The hoses in your vehicle connect to the radiator, heater, fuel lines, vacuum lines, air conditioning, and power steering. Portions of hoses connected to the engine are flexible to absorb vibrations from the vehicle. Most often hoses will wear from the inside, appearing stable on the outside. Dryness can affect rubber causing it to break down. It’s recommended to replace hoses at about 50,000 miles but should be checked for cracks, breaks, or dryness frequently.
At Sun Auto Service we are the professionals when it comes to automotive repair and maintenance. Our ASE Certified Technicians understand the makings of vehicles and how to keep them maintained to make sure our customers are able to drive their car for miles and miles. Our oil change service includes a multi-point inspection ensuring all parts, especially belts and hoses are in peak condition. Bring your vehicle in for an inspection or schedule your next oil change service at one of our many convenient locations, today.