Important Facts About Belts and Hose Maintenance

May 5th, 2022 by

Inside your engine, there are several belts and hoses that can wear down over time and might need to be replaced. These parts are made of durable, long-lasting plastic and rubber but can deteriorate from heat and pressure. Thankfully, these components are relatively easy and cheap to replace, so keeping an eye on your belts and hoses can prevent damage to your engine’s more expensive components. To help you learn more about what the belts and hoses in your engine do, and to provide you with information about how often you should replace them, our staff put together this overview.

What Are Engine Belts?

Ford Engine

Engine belts are strips of rubber that connect different components of your car’s engine. Depending on the type of car you drive, your engine might have multiple different belts or a single, long belt known as the serpentine belt. Most modern cars use a single serpentine belt to connect many of your vehicle’s important systems like the alternator, engine water pump, power steering pump, and more. The serpentine belt uses the engine’s power to operate these systems, so if yours breaks, it can cause damage to many different functions.

Older vehicles tend to have multiple different belts, known as V-belts. Unlike serpentine belts that connect multiple different systems, V-belts typically affect only one part. Regardless of what kind of engine your car has, understanding how the different belts work together to keep your vehicle operating is important. If you begin to notice issues with things like power steering, and air conditioning, or if your engine starts to overheat, a faulty belt might be the culprit.

What Are Engine Hoses?

Just like belts, engine hoses are durable components that are made of rubber or plastic. These hoses transfer important liquids to the different parts of your engine, and are vitally important for the proper functioning of your vehicle. Some of the most commonly known hoses are radiator hoses, which carry coolant to and from your engine. These are built to withstand the extreme heat and pressure that comes from transferring hot material out of your engine block, but over time, they can degrade.

If your car is experiencing problems in hot weather, or if your check engine light comes on, it could be an indication that your radiator hoses are not properly distributing the heat in your engine. Some other examples of hoses are heater hoses, which transfer coolant to and from the heater core. If the heat in your car isn’t working, it could be related to a problem with one of these hoses. The hydraulic braking and power steering systems in your car also rely on a system of hoses, so problems with these features could result from hose deterioration.

Why Is It Important To Maintain Your Belts and Hoses?

Even though the belts and hoses in your engine are built of highly durable material, they can still degrade faster than some of the metal components. When these rubber pieces break down or stop functioning correctly, it can damage the other parts of the engine that might be more costly to repair. Performing frequent maintenance on your engine’s belts and hoses can prevent damage to your engine that could end up costing you thousands, so it’s crucial for you to have your car inspected every couple of months.

When Should You Replace Your Belts and Hoses?

Understanding when to replace these rubber parts is an important part of owning a car. One of the best practices to ensure that your engine is in top condition is to simply follow the manufacturer’s recommendation. Most parts manufacturers will issue instructions that recommend you have your parts inspected every 50,000 to 60,000 miles, or after a certain number of months. Even if you don’t notice any issues with your car’s performance, we urge you to follow these instructions and have your car inspected when the time comes.

If it isn’t time for an inspection but you’re still noticing issues with your engine’s performance, it could be a good idea to pop the hood and take a look yourself. Depending on the type of car you have, you might be able to visually inspect the belts and hoses. When looking at your engine’s belt, keep an eye out for cracking, blistering, or tearing in the material. If you notice any of these signs or frayed fibers on your belt, it could be a sign that it’s time for a replacement.

When examining your engine’s hoses, you should look for similar signs of wear on the rubber. If you can reach these hoses, you can see how they feel when squeezed. A proper engine hose should feel sturdy and slightly pliable. If your hose is mushy or brittle, it’s possible that it’s begun to break down due to the changes in temperature that it’s subjected to. You should also keep an eye out for bulges in the rubber that could result from exposure to high pressure.

How To Replace Your Belts and Hoses

Once you’ve found a problematic belt or hose, you should immediately replace it before your engine gets damaged. Since these components are crucial to the proper functioning of your engine, we highly recommend that you take your car to a certified professional rather than trying to install it on your own. Our service department can inspect your car to identify any belts or hoses that should be replaced and then perform the replacement quickly and easily. Trying to replace these components without the proper tools could lead to more damage, so before you do anything, please consult a professional.

This was a brief overview of the importance of properly maintaining the belts and hoses in your engine. If you have any questions about the condition of your engine or want to schedule an inspection with our team, please give us a call. Here at Bill Volz Westchester, we are committed to providing the highest level of care for our customers, so please stop by today.

Posted in Service Tips