Some of the common symptoms of a bad Serpentine belt include problems with the air conditioning, issues with squeaking noises, trouble functioning the power steering, engine overheating, damages to the belt itself, troubles working battery, and some whining noises from the pulley.
The Serpentine belt is one of the most critical components in your engine. It is responsible for providing the required energy to turn on power steering, alternator, air conditioning, and some vehicles the water pump.
Thus, a bad Serpentine belt is not something you can delay taking care of when you have time. You must repair it immediately if you would like your vehicle to keep going.
Certain symptoms indicate that your Serpentine belt is going bad sometime soon. Once you detect any of these symptoms, you must how do the vehicle inspected and repaired by a professional mechanic.
This article provides you with the top reported symptoms of a bad serpentine belt. It also gives you an idea about how much it will cost you to replace a bad Serpentine belt.
What is the Serpentine belt, and what does it do?
Have you ever opened the engine and noticed a belt around it? That belt is referred to as the accessory belt or the Serpentine belt. The Serpentine belt is more like a rubber belt surrounding the engine and transporting the energy from the engine to the other vehicle accessories.
By using rotational power, this belt is responsible for running all various accessories in your vehicle. For instance, the Serpentine belt provides the necessary energy for the alternator, the air conditioning, the power steering pump, the water pump, and others.
Usually, the Serpentine belt does not go bad very soon. According to automotive experts, Serpentine belts are expected to last up to 60,000 to 100,000 miles. However, this range can differ significantly from vehicle to other vehicle and depends on your driving style and environment.
As a driver, you can perform simple visual inspections of your Serpentine belt to determine if it's going bad very soon. For instance, you might need to look for some of the following:
- You no longer see the ribbed on the belt
- You might see some shiny spots or glazing areas
- You can visually look for any symptoms of cracks
- Finally, check for any other damages, especially around the belt edges
Is the Serpentine belt the same as the V belt?
No, the Serpentine belt is not the same as the V belt. V belts are usually associated with older vehicles, and they're not as thick or strong as the Serpentine belts. The V belts are only connected to the crankshaft, and if you would like to run multiple accessories, you will see that the vehicle has multiple V belts. On the other hand, vehicles associated with a Serpentine belt have only one belt that runs multiple accessories.
What are the common symptoms of a bad serpentine belt?
Unfortunately, and add a Serpentine belt completely affect driving your vehicle. It is not something that you can delay and take care of once you have time. You will immediately notice that several accessories in your vehicle are not working properly, preventing you from driving this car.
If you notice any signs of damage is or cracks around the seat belt, you must take care of the problem immediately and have a professional mechanic inspect the vehicle to determine what exactly happened to the belt and how to fix it.
The good news is that when the Serpentine belt goes bad, it will let you know, and you will notice one of the following clear symptoms of a bad serpentine belt:
Troubles with the air conditioning
When the Serpentine belt goes bad, you will not have working air conditioning because it's the primary source of energy that allows the air conditioning to function. Thus, one quick check to determine if you have a problem with the Serpentine belt is to try turning on the air conditioning. If you notice that the air conditioning does not blow cool air, it might be an issue with the Serpentine belt.
Keep in mind that a bad Serpentine belt is not the only problem that will prevent your air conditioning from working. There might be many reasons behind this problem, so; you can't only rely on the symptom to say that the Serpentine belt is the primary cause of this issue.
Weird squealing noises
In some cases, when the Serpentine goes bad, you might hear some squealing noises coming from the front portion of your vehicle. These squealing noises indicate that either the Serpentine belt is going bad or does not have the right alignment.
In many scenarios, fixing the alignment and the Serpentine belt's tension can take care of this problem. However, if the Serpentine belt is completely damaged, the best solution is to replace it so don't deal with weird squealing noises.
Malfunctions in the power steering
As for the air conditioning, the Serpentine belt is the primary source of power to steering to work. Dealing with the steering system issues can be very critical because it's the system that allows you to control the vehicle, and it can get even more complicated if you're driving on the highway.
That's why we always recommend that when the Serpentine belt goes bad, you have to take care of the problem immediately, so you don't put your life into other people's lives at risk of crashes.
Again, bad power steering is not always linked to an issue with the Serpentine belt. It can simply be just low-power steering fluid. Thus, you need to perform a thorough inspection and relate all mentioned symptoms together to confirm that your steering problem is coming from a bad Serpentine belt.
When the Serpentine belt does not work properly, the water pump will also be prevented from supporting the cooling system. The water pump is responsible for pumping the coins around the cooling system, and when it goes bad, you can easily deal with engine overheating.
Engine overheating is one of the worst enemies that any driver would like to deal with, affecting the engine over a small timeframe.
Like other mentioned symptoms, engine overheating can happen due to many other reasons. That's why you must look for multiple symptoms simultaneously and perform a thorough inspection buy help from your professional mechanic to confirm that the issue is coming from a bad Serpentine belt.
Serpentine belt cracks
You can perform a visual inspection to determine whether the Serpentine belt is going bad. For instance, you might need to look for symptoms of cracks around the Serpentine belts or any other damages. Once you notice energies sometimes, you need to replace the Serpentine belt immediately.
Battery not working
If you notice a sudden loss of power, it might be an issue with the Serpentine belt. As we indicated earlier, the Serpentine belt is responsible for providing the power needed to function the alternator.
When the alternator is not working, it will quickly deplete the electrical current in the battery by charging some of the components like the headlights, radio, spark plugs.
Your vehicle might work for a little bit without an alternator but, once the battery's charge is depleted completely, your vehicle will suddenly stop. The battery is not designed to charge the electrical accessories continuously. Even if it does for a little bit, your vehicle eventually runs out of battery, and it will stop.
Therefore, you might need to look for symptoms of a snapped Serpentine belt. Keep in mind that even a loose Serpentine belt that's not gripping the alternator properly might also prevent your vehicle from going.
Any battery problem better is related to the Serpentine belt requires inspecting the Serpentine belt and making sure it's not a loose parent. If you notice that it's snap, you have to replace it right away.
Whining noises from the pulley
About Serpentine belt might cause whining noises around the engine's pulley, especially if it's snapped. You'll notice that this noise gets louder and louder as you accelerate.
One of the primary reasons for this whining noise could be that the Serpentine belt is overtightened, which puts additional friction and load on the pulley's accessories.
The Serpentine belt will cause whining noises, but it can also eventually damage the water pump when the bearings around the pulley are failing.
Therefore, you need to make sure that it is not over tightened to prevent damaging the bearings when you install a new Serpentine belt.
Is a Serpentine belt easy to replace?
The Serpentine belt replacement should not be a complicated job, and many drivers do it by themselves. However, in more modern vehicles, replacing the Serpentine belt can be a little more complicated because it involves some automatic drive belt tensioners, which require a higher level of mechanical skill sets to deal with.
Does the Serpentine belt affect the transmission?
Usually, the effects of a bad Serpentine belt are limited to the engine's accessories as if it fails to transfer the necessary power to these accessories.
However, it's not common for a Serpentine belt to directly affected the transmission, and therefore, you don't expect transition problems due to a faulty Serpentine belt. Of course, there might be indirect effects of a bad Serpentine belt on the transmission, but it's not the case all the time.
Is the Serpentine belt the same as the timing belt?
No, the Serpentine belt and the timing belt are two different components with two different jobs.
As we indicated earlier, the Serpentine belt is responsible for powering all accessories using rotational power generated by the engine. On the other hand, the timing belt is responsible for making sure that both the camshaft and crankshaft are In Sync, allowing the valves to open and close at the right timing to provide smooth engine running.
How much does it cost to replace a bad Serpentine belt?
Although the Serpentine belt plays a major role in your vehicle, replacing it is not very expensive, and it only costs you between $100 and $200. This price range is not very high compared to major repairs that have to do with engine replacement if ignoring the Serpentine belt issues.
The part itself is even cheaper and costs you between $25 and $80.00, depending on your vehicle's type. However, labor costs might be something around $75 to $120.00. Many people find it useful to take care of Labor costs by replacing the Serpentine belts themselves.
However, it is never recommended that he attempt to replace the Serpentine belt yourself unless you are comfortable and have the necessary mechanical skill sets. Usually, most DIYs do not work the first time, and you don't want to test on one of the most critical components in your vehicle, your engine.
If you decided to go ahead and replace your Serpentine belts, you need to be fully aware of the necessary steps while making sure that you got the right replacement part that matches the old one.
The Serpentine Belt is a critical component in your engine. It's responsible for powering all accessories in your vehicle, including the air conditioning, steering power, the water pump, etc.
When the Serpentine belt goes bad, you should not ignore the problem and replace it immediately. The good news is that replacing the Serpentine belt is not expensive, and it usually costs you between $100 in $200.
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