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Signs Your Serpentine Belt is Failing

One of the most important components of your vehicle’s engine is the serpentine belt. Though relatively simple in design, the serpentine belt is an essential component in the function of various accessories within the engine. The belt is named for the snaking shape it takes on as it winds around various pulleys on the engine. The belt moves these pulleys, which in turn operate your vehicle’s alternator, AC compressor, water pump, and other systems. On most modern vehicles, the serpentine belt is closely linked to so many of the vehicle’s essential systems. Here are some signs that your serpentine belt may need to be replaced or repaired.

Strange Noises

A failing belt often makes strange sounds that are similar to squeals or squeaks. These noises come from the front of the vehicle, and upon closer inspection may be traceable to the engine itself. A failing serpentine belt is only one of several problems that can cause these noises, so it’s generally best to have the noise investigated by a professional before making a diagnosis yourself.

Failing Accessories

If certain functions on your car such as the air conditioner or power steering begin to malfunction, the serpentine belt may be to blame. This is especially likely if more than one system fails in quick succession. You may also notice that accessories stop working and then start again after your car has been turned off for a while.

Failing Engine

If your engine begins overheating regularly, it may be a sign that the water pump that cools it is not functioning efficiently. A malfunctioning water pump can easily be caused by a failing belt. If your engine is not running or revving smoothly, it may also be an indication that the serpentine belt is slipping and needs to be replaced.

Wear on the Belt

One of the clearest signs that your serpentine belt may need to be replaced is wear and tear to the belt itself. The belt may appear cracked and frayed if it is ready to break. The tread on the belt may also be missing pieces or look flattened, both of which can cause the belt to slip. Without visual confirmation of wear on the belt itself, it is often difficult to determine whether the serpentine belt is the cause of your vehicle’s problems; however, cracks in the belt can cause it to stretch and squeal, a good indication that replacement is in order.

If your serpentine belt is worn or needs replacement, don’t wait to have it replaced. Call Sun Devil Auto today to schedule an appointment with one of our expert technicians.