Automotive Belts & Hoses

A majority of car breakdowns these days are caused by breakdowns with belts, hoses, and cooling system. Modern cars run hotter than previous generations of vehicles, and all those moving parts are packed together more tightly than they have ever been before. Both belts and hoses are subject to damage from environmental factors and the passage of time. Belts and hoses can also crack or fray after long-term exposure to harmful elements or engine heat. If belts and hoses are not properly maintained, they can mean big trouble for your car’s engine. Before that happens, get your vehicle into the bays at Willoughby Hills Auto Repair in Willoughby Hills, OH.

Most people get their oil changed on a regular basis, but few have the foresight to have the belts and hoses checked as well. An overdue oil change can cause big headaches if not performed for too long; but cracked or damaged belts and hoses can have you waiting by the side of the road for a tow truck.

At Willoughby Hills Auto Repair in Willoughby Hills, OH, we inspect, repair and replace all belts and hoses. Here are a few of the services we provide:

Drive & Accessory Drive Belts

Your car’s engine powers every last part of your vehicle. While the mind jumps to electric power, your engine operates other components manually, through a series of interconnected belts and pulleys. Some of these manual components include:

  • Power steering pump
  • Alternator
  • Air conditioning compressor
  • Radiator cooling fan
  • Water pump

Some cars run a single serpentine belt for powering these components, while others use a series of different belts for different components.

Hoses

Think of your car’s hoses as you think of the veins in your body. They are responsible for carrying fluids through the various components of your vehicle. Most automotive hoses have three layers – a layer of rubber, a layer of fabric, and another of rubber. What hoses a vehicle car has inside can vary based on make and model, but some of the more common hoses include:

  • Fuel hose (sends gasoline from the gas tank to the engine)
  • Radiator and heater hoses – These hoses convey coolant to the engine and heater core.
  • Power steering hose (connects power steering pump to steering equipment)

Serpentine Belt

Have you ever seen the long, prominent belt that wraps around the front of your car’s engine? That’s the serpentine belt. The serpentine belt is powered by the engine and it moves as the engine runs. The serpentine belt powers your car’s alternator, AC compressor, and power steering pump. Depending on your car, it can also run the water pump, radiator fan, and even the power brakes.

If your serpentine belt breaks, your car’s battery would likely make it less than five miles before it died. If you drive a car in which the serpentine belt powers the fan or water pump, you could have an overheated engine on your hands, not to mention a broken serpentine belt could make steering or braking next to impossible. If you suspect weakness in your serpentine belt, it is far better to replace it before it becomes a problem.

You can always check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for assistance in determining when your car is due for a new serpentine belt, or you can bring it to the experts at Willoughby Hills Auto Repair and let us take a look. We can quickly determine whether or not you need a new one, or when you will need a new one in the future.

You may have been told by a service advisor to look for cracks in your belt to see if it needs to be replaced. Of course, cracks are still a concern, but modern belt material doesn’t crack as often as old belts did. What we look for these days is the thickness of the belt. There are tools available that measures the depth of the grooves in the belt to see if it needs replacing.

A worn belt can slip (squeal) or be misaligned, putting undue stress on the accessories it runs.

Now you can imagine it’s important for the belt to be tight, so there’s a tensioner pulley on your engine that puts pressure on the belt to keep it at the right tension. The spring on the tensioner wears out over time so we recommend replacing the tensioner pulley at the same time as the serpentine belt.

Replacing your serpentine belt on schedule, or when an inspection warrants it, will keep you from an unexpected breakdown.

Radiator & Coolant Hoses

Radiator and coolant hoses are vital to keeping your engine from overheating. With time and use, hoses become brittle and weak. Don’t wait for a failed radiator or coolant hose to leave you stranded.

Coolant System Components:

  • Heater Core
  • Heater Hoses
  • Pressure Cap
  • Thermostat
  • Upper Radiator Hose
  • Radiator
  • Fan
  • Water Pump
  • Transmission Cooler
  • Lower Radiator Hose
  • Reserve Tank
  • Antifreeze

Cooling hoses should be replaced every 5 years or 100,000 miles.

TIMING BELTS: WHAT ARE THEY?

Piston engines can generally be divided into two groups-Interference AND non-interference engines.
If a timing belt breaks on a non-interference engine the engine will ‘free-wheel’ and the piston will not contact the valves.

On the other hand, interference engines will not ‘free-wheel”. Severe valve train and piston damage can result if the timing belt breaks while the engine is running.

TIMING BELT REPLACEMENT GUIDE

Most manufacturers have recommended replacement Intervals for replacing timing belts. A typical service Interval in between 50,000 and 60,000 miles. It is important to replace timing belts at recommended Intervals even if the vehicle has a non-interference engine. Proper maintenance prevents expensive tow bills and possible accidents due to loss of engine power while traveling at highway speeds.

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