Check engine belts to avoid breakdowns

February 6, 2015 02:31 PM

Some people take a peek under the hood of their car and have no idea what they're looking at. You can't be blamed for that, as it's a tangled mess of machinery, hoses, containers and other confusing parts. However, just because you may not understand it doesn't mean you can ignore it. If you do, you might find yourself stranded on the side of the road due to some faulty engine belts. 

The importance of engine belts 
Engine belts may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about what keeps a car running. But they play an integral role in the functioning of the engine, as well as other aspects of the car. The Car Care Council noted that belts are needed to run the HVAC and charging systems, along with power steering and related parts of the engine. 

Should something go wrong, you could be facing severe consequences. Breakdowns due to belt trouble are common, and at the very least you'll find that certain aspects of the vehicle aren't functioning as they're meant to, which could impact fuel efficiency or driving performance.

Belts need to be replaced at certain mileage points. Refer to your owner's manual to check out when you should upgrade, and be sure to let an auto repair franchise take a look at the car if you think there's a problem. 

Maintenance can prevent disaster
The best way to make sure faulty engine belts don't become a problem is to have them regularly checked as part of an auto tune up. You can also schedule specific appointments to have belts examined, and this should be done if you begin hearing strange noises emanating from under the hood or if you smell burning rubber. 

"You don't want to be stranded because of a bad belt that could have been diagnosed with simple preventative maintenance," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "If the serpentine belt fails or breaks, the engine will fail to run and you may be stuck. The Car Care Council recommends replacing belts at specified intervals to save you from the hassle of a breakdown."

Belts are just one part of the system that keeps your car running. Make sure you're taking care of everything by treating your vehicle right and letting professionals fix any problems in a timely manner. 

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