Timing and Serpentine Belts

In the fast paced Washington D.C. Metro area everyone is always either working or driving to work. It’s always hectic. Its always about focus on the job and as long as the car is running everything is fine. But some things should not be taken for granted. A Serpentine belt or Timing belt will work fine up until the time they break. If the Serpentine belt breaks and you lose the Alternator charging function, you lose the Power Steering and now your A/C doesn’t work. If the Timing Belt breaks, the car just cuts off immediately and depending on the type of engine you have it could cause serious internal valve damage.

The serpentine belt gets its name because of its circuitous path around the engine. The serpentine belt is driven by the engine and powers a number of systems, as follows:

1. The serpentine belt spins the compressor that generates the cool air for the air conditioning system.

2. The serpentine belt powers the alternator. The alternator generates electricity for use in the vehicle’s electrical systems and to charge the battery. Without the alternator, the battery wouldn’t last more than a few miles.

3. The serpentine belt runs the pumps for both the power steering and the power brakes. In other vehicles, the power steering pump may be electric and the power brakes may use a vacuum boost.

4. On many vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump keeps coolant circulating through to maintain appropriate operating temperatures. In some Florida vehicles, a timing belt runs the water pump.

When a serpentine belt fails, all of these systems fail as well, which can lead to engine impact.

Replacing the belts before they break saves money and time for the hectic workers in the D.C. area by preventing more repairs and costs and the frustration of having your vehicle Towed which is never cheap, to the shop for an extended period of time.