Avoid a Breakdown with a Belt Check

You may not see them or know much about them, but engine belts are always working to keep your vehicle moving. Losing a belt can mean immediate trouble for the engine and a breakdown for you. Review your owner's manual to ensure that belts are inspected and replaced at the proper intervals. 

A vehicle's belts are essential to the cooling, air conditioning and charging systems of the engine. Serpentine belts are used to turn the water pump, alternator, power steering, and air conditioning compressor. Older cars use V-belts for various accessories and failure of this belt could strand a driver. 

Always check serpentine and V-belts for looseness and their overall condition. Replace V-belts when cracked, frayed, glazed or showing signs of excessive water. Noise in the belt system is a sign of wear and the smell of burnt rubber can indicate a slipping belt. When changing a serpentine belt, it is important to check all the components in the serpentine system as tensioners and pulleys wear at the same rate as the belt and should be inspected. 

Typical serpentine belt replacement is 60,000 to 90,000 miles. Typical V-belt replacement is 40,000 to 50,000 miles. Replace timing belt per interval specified in the owner's manual. 

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