Belts and Hoses: A Primer

Your vehicle has a lot of belts and hoses, and they’re not to be confused with bells and whistles, because they are not just fun extras but absolutely necessary to the lifeblood of the car. For this reason, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the most common belts and hoses and what they do.
In keeping with the lifeblood analogy, hoses are like arteries within your car, transporting liquids such as fuel, oil, transmission fluid and coolants between systems. In terms of the latter, coolant hoses serve as a connector between the engine, radiator and heating block. It’s important to peek under the engine at the hoses at least once a month to look for cracks or leaks and to be on guard against warning signs, such as the smell of gasoline or burning, fluid leaking under the vehicle and the “Check Engine” light on the dash.
Most vehicles use up to three different types of belts, described below. If one fails, frays, or breaks, the function it was powering will immediately cease.

  • Serpentine Belts: Most new vehicles have serpentine belts, usually a single continuous belt that controls all of the accessory devices in the automotive engine, such as the alternator, power steering pump, air pump, water pump, air conditioning compressor, etc.

  • V-Belts: More common on older cars, V-belts connect to their own accessory group, meaning that a series of V-belts drives the accessories.

  • Timing Belts: Timing belts differ from serpentine and V-belts in that, for one, they have a protective covering that prevent you from seeing them. Timing belts make sure the engine’s crankshaft and camshaft turn together properly. Some timing belts also drive the oil pump, water pump, or balance shaft.

Don’t wait until there’s an indication of a problem to take your vehicle in to get checked. Our certified technicians are available to inspect your belts and hoses regularly and preform any other maintenance your vehicle requires.

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