Three Sure Signs of Worn Belts
It's funny that as incredibly intricate and complex as cars can be, their mechanical health can still come down to a matter of one piece of stretchy rubber. Your belts aren't very complicated, but they're critical: they keep different engine system spinning in synchronicity with each other and power most of your car's accessories, like the air conditioning. Engine timing is pretty dependent on properly adjusted belts. At the high level of tension they stay at and with their exposed location in the engine compartment, belts are subject to some of the greatest levels of wear and tear out of all your disposable engine components. So how do you know when it's time to get them replaced by an auto maintenance professional?
1) Visual Damage to the Belts
If your belts are seriously worn, you can often see it plainly by a quick visual inspection. Belts can fray, where the threads that hold them in line with the pulley start separating, they can crack, where they begin to rip apart from the other edges, and they can glaze, which is when they harden and lose their flexibility-- demonstrated through an inability to indent and an obvious change in texture. These types of wear occur at the very end of a belt's operational life and you should replace belts immediately if this kind of wear is evident.
2) Is There a Lot of Play, or Looseness, in the Fit of the Belt?
Newer belt materials, like those made from EPDM, don't demonstrate visual wear the same way traditional belts do. As they wear, they wear evenly and subtly, but it's still relatively easy to determine severe wear. If there's a lot of slack in the belt, then the materials of the belt have begun to erode. You can also examine the 'teeth' of a belt against a depth gauge -- like the treads of a tire, the grooves between the teeth will become shallow, and the belt will stop fitting (and functioning) properly. Loose belts left unattended can lead to a lot of other auto repairs later on, since they interfere with the smooth operation of the engine as a whole.
3) Are There A Lot Of Squeaking and Shaking Noises?
Worn belts often squeal, resulting from no longer being able to handle the tension being put on them. Even if you don't see any wear, a squealing belt is a huge red flag: it's definitely no longer working as intended. Shaking and other bad vibrations indicate either a poor fit on the pulley, if the belt is slipping off, or a bad pulley -- which is a bigger and more expensive problem. Either way, you'll hear a problem when it arises. But like visual wear, this kind of obvious damage only crops up when the wear has gotten truly severe.
In the Spokane area, look no further than Inland Sales & Service for professional and fast belt inspection and replacement. They'll be able to tell you exactly how much life is left in your belts and replace them with the precise type of belt recommended by your manufacturer. Eliminate the wait and take the guesswork out of engine maintenance by calling them at 509-202-4025 today!
Written By Brian Corey
Published By MORBiZ
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