What you need to know about your car’s serpentine belt

May 13th, 2020 by

Do you have a clear idea of what’s going on under your car’s hood? Not a lot of drivers do, and that’s OK – that’s what our Orlando Toyota service experts are here for. However, it does help to have a basic knowledge of how things work so you can make more knowledgable decisions about your car care. Today, we’re giving you the basics when it comes to your car’s serpentine belt. Find out what it does, why it’s important, what happens if it breaks, and how to tell if you need to service or replace it.

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What is the serpentine belt?

First, what is the serpentine belt? Basically, it’s one long, winding (that’s why it’s called serpentine) belt that sends power to your car’s air conditioner, alternator, power steering pump, and in some cases even your water pump. Cars haven’t always had them – believe it or not, they used to have individual belts to serve each individual part. This was inefficient, though, because the belts all wore down differently and had to be maintained and replaced at different times. (It caused a lot more maintenance than was necessary.) Thus, the introduction of the serpentine belt to replace all of the individual belts.

Obviously, the serpentine belt plays an essential role in your car’s performance. If it breaks, you’re not going to be getting power to a good number of your car’s accessories, and that can lead to serious performance problems. Additionally, when the belt breaks it can damage OTHER parts of the engine, leading to a ton of expensive repairs to get your Orlando Toyota up and running again. That’s why it’s important to maintain it and when necessary, replace it. Luckily, serpentine belts usually only need to be replaced every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. They’re made of thick, durable rubber and built to last. As long as you have it checked with a visual inspection once a year, you should be good to go.

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Signs it’s time to schedule a replacement at Toyota of Orlando

So, how do you know if the belt is about to wear out and is due for replacement? Here are some telltale signs you’re going to need Orlando auto service soon:

  • You spot cracks or tears in the belt
  • The belt has a “glazed” look – it looks sort of shiny
  • Pieces of rubber are flaking off
  • You’re having problems with your alternator and getting your car started
  • Your check engine light comes on (we know this can mean a lot of things, but it’s also a sign of problems with your serpentine belt, so it’s worth bringing your car into Toyota of Orlando for an inspection)
  • You hear squealing or chirping under the hood – this is caused when the belt slipping due to stretching, a leak in the engine, or the belt’s pulley working improperly
  • Your power steering stops working
  • You notice issues with other accessories like your water pump or air conditioning

Think you need auto maintenance for your serpentine belt? Call Toyota of Orlando today at (407) 298-0001 or schedule an appointment online. You can also visit us at 3575 Vineland Road!

Posted in Toyota Service