All of us in Denver have those days when we’ve got a bunch of errands to run all over town. Suppose on your day off you need to get gas, pick up some groceries, swing by your local ATM and pick the kids up from school. Now you could make four separate trips, but that would be a waste of time and money and totally inefficient. Instead you get organized and hit the ATM first and get some gas next. Then you go to your Denver supermarket and pick up the kids on your way home. That’s a much better use of your time.
Now you may wonder what this has to do with a serpentine belt. Well, back in the day, each of your engine’s accessories, such as the alternator and air conditioner, were powered by separate belts. A vehicle might have five or six belts. These days, vehicles have a single belt to run all the accessories. It’s called the serpentine belt because it snakes around everything, efficiently connecting each accessory. Just like bundling your errands.
A pulley attached to the engine’s crank provides the power to turn the serpentine belt. The belt provides the power for the power steering pump, which makes it easier to steer your vehicle. Next comes the alternator which generates electricity to run the vehicle’s electrical system and charge the battery. On to the air conditioning compressor. This helps make the cold air to keep you comfortable all during the summer here in Denver.
On some vehicles – the water pump, radiator fan and the power brakes are also run by the serpentine belt. Some even have two serpentine belts. No matter how your engine is arranged, you won’t get very far without a serpentine belt. Your auto manufacturer has a recommended interval for inspecting your belt and your Denver service adviser can inspect it for any damage or wear.
Finally, there is the belt tensioner. Its job is to apply pressure on the belt to keep it tight. Several years ago, manufacturers started making serpentine belts out of a new material. It is much more durable, but it’s harder to tell when the belt needs to be replaced. The old style belts would crack and chunks would fall off so you could easily see when you needed a new one.
On the new style belt, if the ribs wear too deep, it’s time to replace it. Your service technician uses a simple gauge to tell when the belt is worn and you need a serpentine belt replacement. A worn belt stresses your engine’s expensive accessories and causes them to wear out prematurely. So change your serpentine belt and belt tensioner as recommended by your helpful Express Car Care tech and extend the life of your accessories and prevent future breakdowns.
At Express Car Care in Denver we install quality NAPA replacements parts. Give us a call @ 303-691-2760. To learn more about NAPA AutoCare, visit www.NAPAAutoCare.com
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