Introduction to a Serpentine Belt
A serpentine belt is a flat drive belt responsible for transferring power to various engine components, including the air conditioner, water pump, radiator and power steering pump. It is linked to the crankshaft, and as it moves, other pullets connected to it slip over, making the joined parts rotate, too. If a serpentine belt cracks or breaks, the said parts will not rotate at their proper speed. It seems simple, but the serpentine belt holds significant importance as the engine’s optimal performance depends on the functioning of the serpentine.
The function of the Serpentine Belt
When you turn on the power of the vehicle, the motor starts running. It lets the crankshaft spin, which results in the spinning of the serpentine belt. All other pulleys connected to the serpentine belt start spinning. That’s how the serpentine belt transfers rotational energy to engine parts. Its multi-grooved design allows for flexible movement and maintains its strength to transfer power.
The longevity of the Serpentine Belt
A serpentine belt is said to last about 80-100k miles usually. More specifically, neoprene belts have the strength to last around 50k miles, while the new belts are made of alkyne-alkene-based polymers that last about 100k miles. It is possible that a belt may get damaged or broken before this and calls for early replacement. The reason can be a lack of adjustment, misaligned pulleys, excess heat, friction or damaged engine accessories. If a belt in bad shape is not replaced, it can cause various problems.
- As stated, the serpentine belt runs the power steering pump, which delivers fluid to the steering gear. With a dysfunctional serpentine belt, the power steering will not operate normally.
- The serpentine belt drives the compressor of the cooling system. Again, the air conditioner will not get a cooling power if the serpentine belt is not in working condition.
- The radiator fan gets to work because of the serpentine belt. If the belt is broken, the fan will not work, leading to overheating your engine.
- Your car’s battery may not charge fully.
Thus, if a serpentine belt is broken or cracked, replace it immediately.
Importance of Serpentine Belt
In the past, engines had several V-belts instead of one serpentine belt. Each belt was responsible for the spinning of one or two components. All these belts were to be maintained for proper functioning of the engine and car. Serpentine belts replaced these thin belts and now run all the accessory parts alone. They are made of high-quality rubber and have good strength to transfer power to other pulleys. A serpentine belt is significant due to the vital functions it plays.
- It is a perfect, comprehensive, all-in-one solution to the multiple V-belt system and allows more belt tension without stretching. The advantages are that the belt’s life increases and efficiency is enhanced.
- A single serpentine belt takes less engine space than multiple belts.
- It is convenient to replace or maintain a single serpentine belt.
- Its use prevents the risk of flipping over thin V-belts in pulleys.
Things to Consider
One of the drawbacks of using a serpentine belt is that if the belt breaks or stops working, all the critical functions of components instantly stop. The water pump, steering pump, and air-conditioner would stop working. With the loss of engine cooling, everything comes to a halt. Thus, it is imperative to look for warning signs which are visible and noticeable. Temporarily, the worn-out part of the belt can be replaced with a short belt of any type. Belt replacement is essential to restore the working of each component.
Maintain your vehicle’s serpentine belt in good condition, as it is responsible for the performance of different components. Visit a nearby automotive expert to inspect your belt if a broken serpentine belt causes your crackly sound or any of the above-stated abnormalities. For replacement, visit KSB Autostyling to get your hands on high-quality products for your car.