HVAC Components

12.30.13

If you think of the belts under your hood like the chain on a bicycle transferring your leg energy to where it’s needed at the wheels. Now think of your vehicle’s hoses are like arteries, responsible for carrying life-sustaining coolant to the places that need it.

Without proper maintenance, your engine could overheat and the risk of a breakdown becomes very real. Belts and hoses degrade over time and can crack, split, swell or burst. It is important to check them at the regular intervals recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer to avoid a breakdown from a broken belt or hose failure.

A system is only as good as its weakest link and hoses are a vital cooling system component requiring regular service. Replacing the radiator hoses before they begin to leak can prevent an inconvenient breakdown and the potential for expensive related repairs. When cracks are visible or the hose swells or feels soft, it is a likely sign that the hoses are near the end of their life. Often, the upper hose will deteriorate sooner than the lower hose because it is subject to greater extremes in temperature than the lower hose, but it’s a wise preventative measure to replace them both at the same time.

Most newer vehicles utilize a timing belt to drive and precisely synchronize camshaft movement, hence the name ‘timing belt’. Similar to a serpentine or v-belt, your timing belt will degrade over time and with usage. Wear on your timing belt is not visible because it is housed inside the engine, behind the timing cover. Time, temperature and stress cause the belt to degrade and if not replaced at the manufacturer specified interval, this component could fail without warning. When a timing belt fails, it doesn’t just mean an inconvenient breakdown, it could mean serious and costly engine damage.

Other belts enable your vehicle rotating components, such as the alternator, water pump, and AC compressor to keep turning. Some vehicles are equipped with V-belts, an individual belt for each component and others are equipped with a serpentine belt, one large, multi-groove belt that is routed around all of your vehicle’s rotating components.

Normal wear and exposure to extreme temperatures will degrade both V-Belts and serpentine belts over time. In this situation, a broken belt means a break down, so belts should be replaced before they snap. If you observe any cracks, fraying, or splitting it is time for a replacement.

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