Three Warnings That It's Time To Change Your Vehicle's Serpentine Belt
Your vehicle's serpentine belt can wear out over time, prompting the need to visit a local automotive garage and have it replaced. This job doesn't take much time to complete, and because the belt itself is not a high-priced item, you'll be able to get this pivotal part of your car replaced without spending much money. When you visit your automotive service shop for other work, a technician will occasionally inspect your belt and let you know if it needs to be replaced. However, if you haven't recently been into the garage, there are still several ways that you can get a warning that it's time to have the belt changed.
The Belt Squeals Unnecessarily
When you turn your car on in the driveway, you should always assess how it sounds. Sometimes, you'll hear a noticeable squealing from under the hood, and this is characteristically your serpentine belt. In many cases, the belt will squeal in wet conditions. For example, if it has rained overnight, you can often expect to hear a little squealing the first time you turn your car on. However, the squealing shouldn't persist. If it continues, or if you hear the squeal sound when the conditions aren't damp, you should definitely schedule an appointment at your local repair shop.
The Belt Has Visible Signs Of Wear
You don't need to be an automotive mechanic to visually assess your serpentine belt. With your car's engine turned off, pop the hood and look for the belt — it winds its way around a series of pulleys attached to several parts of your engine, and is thus hard to miss. With a flashlight, look carefully at the surface of the belt. You should be concerned if you see cracks in the belt material, as these are signs that it's wearing out. Similarly, it's a concern if the belt isn't taut.
You Lose The Belt
Having the serpentine belt fly off your engine is an obvious sign that you need to get to a repair shop — and fast. When a belt fails, you'll often hear it rattling under the hood and you may see it land on the street if you look quickly in your rearview mirror. Even if you miss these clues, there will be several occurrences that you won't be able to miss. Given how the belt provides power to several elements, you can expect to lose power steering and your heating or air conditioning, as well as see many of your dashboard panel's warning lights come on.