When you hear the word “serpentine belt”, what comes to mind? The serpentine belt has a ring to it that makes it seem important, and it is. It is a component in your car also known as the fan belt or accessory belt. Most modern vehicles only use a single fan belt which is really all that is needed. However, when that one serpentine belt breaks, you are deemed to replace it right away. You may be planning on a DIY project for that broken fan belt. If you are, you came to the right place. The simplest of the serpentine belt replacement tips we can give is for you to get the right tools in place. This article has more in store for you so keep reading.
How does the serpentine belt work in your car?
One of the most important serpentine belt replacement tips is to know the function of the component you are going to replace or to fix. The serpentine belt connects other components to the engine’s crankshaft. The belt sends power from the engine to the different car systems such as the cooling system, heat and air conditioning system, alternator, power steering system, and auxiliary system. If the belt breaks, a lot of strain will be transferred to the battery. The battery will be the one to deliver the power to the other car components. This will cause the battery to drain. A drained battery can cause other complications to your vehicle. Thus, you need to replace your serpentine belt right away.
Can you drive with the serpentine belt off?
Yes. You can still drive even if the serpentine belt is off. Nevertheless, you still need the serpentine belt replacement tips that will be discussed in the next sections. Without the serpentine belt, your car can only run for a few minutes. Driving a car with a broken serpentine belt is a different discussion, as this could also be damaging to the other components of your car.
You may be wondering how you can still drive without the accessory belt. The component that covers up the absence of the serpentine belt is the battery. The battery delivers enough power to your vehicle’s starter motor that sends the power to the engine. Once the engine receives the right amount of power, the combustion process begins which then gets your car moving. Though your car gets to start, you still need the serpentine belt.
How long will my car run with a broken serpentine belt?
Although you can still drive even though your car’s serpentine belt is off or is broken, that does not mean you should. Serpentine belt replacement tips are still relevant if you want to get the most of the driving experience. In fact, you can’t even drive that long without the serpentine belt. As for the duration of driving with a broken serpentine belt, the answer varies. One factor that affects the driving time span is the weather.
On a typical day, not too hot or too cold outside, your vehicle can run for 20 minutes to an hour with a faulty serpentine belt. If the temperature outside is higher than normal, you should expect your car to stop running in less than an hour. The engine is most likely to overheat. In cold weather, you can drive your vehicle with serpentine belt issues for a little over an hour before the battery dies.
There are other problems that you will be able to prevent when you know the serpentine belt replacement tips. You will experience such problems when you drive with a broken fan belt. Your car can definitely run with a faulty serpentine belt but only long enough for you to get to a safe place and wait for a truck to tow your vehicle. While you are driving without the belt component, or with a damaged one, your car will shift to limp mode to prevent excessive strain to the engine. This means that other functions of your car cannot be used. Such functions include accessories namely: fans, headlights, and air conditioning. Although these are minor features that are included in modern vehicles for your comfort, some of them still serve safety purposes. If you are driving at night, it may be hard for you without headlights.
Other systems will not be ready to use when the serpentine belt is damaged. You may have trouble turning the wheel as well since the power steering system will not be able to work. A snapped serpentine belt can cause more damage to your car compared to driving without it. When your fan belt is hanging in the engine compartment, put it away immediately.
How do you put the serpentine belt back on?
In truth, serpentine belt replacement tips are not that complicated. If your serpentine belt is not damaged and you just need to put it back on, you still need to apply the serpentine belt replacement tips on later projects. Here are the steps on how you will put the serpentine belt back on.
- Use the right tools
Of all the serpentine belt replacement tips, this is the one you should not get wrong. Some car owners attempt to use their all-around tools for changing the serpentine belt but this action proves to cause more problems in the long run. The tools required for this project are a gauge, serpentine belt replacement tool, and the new fan belt. You also need to add the tensioner in the inventory just in case.
- Remove the belt carefully
Before you proceed to this step, serpentine belt replacement tips suggest that you make sure you actually need to change your fan belt. Use the gauge to measure if the belt is worn. If your gauge sits upright above the ribs, you can save these serpentine belt replacement tips for another day. If the gauge slides down the ribs, you need to change the belt. Use the serpentine belt tool to remove the fan belt from its place. Be careful when you rotate the belt tensioner. Once the tensioner is rotated out of place, you can slide the fan belt off.
- Put on the new belt
Place the new belt properly into the belt path around the crankshaft pulley and the grooved pulleys. Ensure that the serpentine belt is in its right place and goes around the right pulleys.
Is it hard to change a serpentine belt?
The initial answer is, no. It is not that difficult to change a serpentine belt. However, the task can be quite challenging if the damage from the serpentine belt creates a domino effect to other parts of the car which may result in a compromised power steering system.Luckily, majority of the cars today are equipped with a wider serpentine belt in contrast with the multiple belts present in older cars. This saves more time and effort in changing the belt. Following serpentine belt replacement tips can also do the trick. If the problem is solely with the serp belt, then you have less to worry about. Keeping serpentine belt replacement tips in mind will save you the hassle of getting stuck in the process. Generally speaking, uninstallment of the serp belt involves loosening or adjusting the tensioner and working with pulley grooves and belt ribs.
How often do serpentine belts break?
Serpentine belts are designed to carry out its function for around 70,000 to 100,000 miles. That distance can be considered to endure even after the car becomes obsolete.The serpentine belt of your car typically lasts as long as the vehicle is up and running. It is designed to not wear easily. However, some malpractice in driving can affect the serpentine belt negatively. This results in the untimely wear of the serp belt. Knowledge regarding serpentine belt replacement tips can be handy in such situations. You must also be aware of the cause of the damage. This way, you will know the best plan of action to repair your serpentine belt. Considering that your serpentine belt can be affected by harsh driving, you must routinely check it together with other parts of the car before you drive.
Why did my serpentine belt break?
Why serpentine belts break can be pointed out to a number of reasons. One of these is when other components of the car involved with the serpentine belt break. Take the pulley for example. The pulley has bearings that are driven by the serpentine belt. When the bearings get damaged, it will result in a chain reaction leading to the pulley to break, then the serpentine belt will inevitably break. There are still other factors that you may look into other than the condition of the pulley and related accessories to the serp belt. This list will provide you the reasons behind the failure of your serp belt and some of the serpentine belt replacement tips you can apply to the damage.
- Due to defective tensioners
The role of the tensioner is to supply enough pressure for the serpentine belt to stay aligned in its course as it expands and contracts. Defective tensioners can cause cracks to appear in the serpentine belt. If the tensioner is left unchecked, the damage it creates can be greater than you expected. One of the serpentine belt replacement tips you can apply to address this issue is to release the tensioner through slipping the serpentine belt and cross it over to the next pulley. The condition will be worse for older cars where the belt is not that flexible anymore and which are more susceptible to extreme cracking.
- Because of Pulley misalignment
Pulley alignment plays a key role for your serp belt to function properly. When this alignment is disturbed, it spells damage for the serpentine belt. Oftentimes, the misalignment of the pulley leads to glazing at the edges of the belt that causes it to slip out of place. Be careful with this one. You must make sure that the pulley is not loosely placed in position.
- Damage do to oil leaks
Oil leak is a common problem in automobiles and it affects multiple parts of the car. Your car’s serpentine belt is no exception. The leaked oil creates a lubricant around the belt and the aftermath of this is another misalignment. You must always check for any car leaks. It would not be good for the engine and it would most certainly be worse for the serpentine belt.
How much would it cost to change a serpentine belt?
Similar to other car damages, the cost of changing or replacing your car’s serpentine belt depends on the model of the car itself and the labor cost. One of the serpentine belt replacement tips that you can follow to lessen the amount you pay is to do the task yourself. The cost of a new serpentine belt runs around 50 to 70 dollars. You just need to prepare some of the basic tools such as a wrench set and jack stands if you plan to do the project on your own. If you are set to put your mechanic skills up to the test, you must make sure that you have all the instructions to guide you through the process. Apply the serpentine belt replacement tips that you will learn from this guide. Additionally, you will not only develop your skills in revamping your automobile, but you will also save more since changing a serpentine belt costs about 70 to 200 dollars including the labor cost.
This guide has outlined the key points you must know if you are to undertake an issue with your serpentine belt. All things considered, a serpentine replacement can be done decently with the right tools and with simple-to-follow instructions. Finding out the root of the problem is a crucial step in making the replacement. There are instances when the serpentine belt is not the only car accessory that was damaged, and such situations can make things worse for you. But you need not fret, so long as you know and follow the serpentine belt replacement tips in this guide.