Belts and Hoses

Many experts urge replacing belts, radiator and heater hoses at specific recommended intervals in order to prevent your car from breaking down. Losing a belt today means big trouble for the engine because serpentine belts are used on most engines to turn the water pump, alternator, power steering and air-conditioning compressor. If the belt snaps, everything is lost and you may be stranded. Older cars use individual V-belts for these various accessories. A blown hose results in an overheated engine and can cause additional engine damage.

Typical Service:

  • Hoses should be checked at each oil change for age hardening (or softening) by pinching. Any hose that feels rock hard or mushy is due for replacement. Leaking, visible cracks, blistering or any other visible damage on the outside of the hose would also indicate a need for replacement.
  • The clamps should also be replaced when new hoses are installed.
  • V-belts should be replaced every three or four years or 40,000 to 50,000 miles.
  • V-belts and serpentine belts should also be checked for looseness.
  • Replace the timing belt based on the interval specified in the owner's manual.

Questions to ask:

  1. What's the difference between a V-belt and a serpentine belt?
  2. Why does my aftermarket V-belt have notches?
  3. What are branched hoses and why might these be better for my vehicle?
  4. What is electrolytic corrosion and how did it get in my cooling system?