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Your vehicle’s belts and hoses often don’t get the attention they deserve. They are vital engine components that can make a huge difference to your car’s lifespan. Often you can see or hear when a belt or hose is worn and needs changing. But just as often, you can’t. And that’s where your Mufflerman technician can make all the difference.
Generally speaking, belts transfer energy from one moving part to another while hoses deliver gases or liquids under pressure to make a part move. Both belts and hoses are usually made of rubber and can dry out and crack as they age. Leaky hoses and loose belts can affect the performance of a specific part. A broken hose or belt could possibly disable your whole car.
There are quite a few different kinds of belts in your vehicle, including alternator belt, fan belt, power steering belt and air conditioning belt. But two of the belts you’ll hear about most often are the serpentine belt, which powers the alternator, climate control system and power steering with energy from the crankshaft, and the timing belt (or timing chain) that helps turn the camshaft of your engine and makes sure the valves and pistons move in synch.
Common hoses include those for the radiator (help cool the engine), the heater core (help heat the cabin), fuel hoses, brake hoses and air intake hoses (ensures your engine gets the correct mixture of air and fuel). But there’s also brake hoses, power steering hoses, a PCV valve hose and more.
Every single one of these belts and hoses needs to be inspected and adjusted according the replacement cycle outlined in your owner’s manual. Especially if you want to get the longest life possible out of your vehicle. But besides regular service notices, there can be signs that something may not be right. For example, a chirping or squealing noise could be the sound of a loose or damaged belt. Or you may look under the hood and actually see a frayed loose belt, or one with cracks in the rubber, or find fluid around a hose attachment or on the driveway under your car.
Battery problems, car not starting, power steering, brakes or climate control failure, engine cooling or alternator – any of these can be disabled by a belt or hose failure.
So once again, a little time and money spent on these components can help save you a bundle by keeping your vehicle on the road longer.