Today is National Tune-Up Day, so we’re taking a look at an auto repair that you don’t want to overlook: the serpentine belt. There are a lot of systems and moving parts in your car’s engine. Many of them are connected, and if one part breaks, others will follow. The serpentine belt, also called the drive or accessory belt, is one such part. This belt runs through several systems in your car and keeps them all running. If the belt breaks, all those systems will stop working, and you won’t be able to drive your car.

Here’s what your serpentine belt does and how to tell if you need to replace it as part of your next auto repair.

What systems does the serpentine belt power?

If you take a look at your engine, you’ll see a long belt running through several pulleys. That’s the serpentine belt. This belt powers many systems in your car, including:

  • The alternator
  • The power steering pump
  • The A/C compressor
  • The water pump

Because some of the systems the serpentine belt powers aren’t strictly necessary, it used to be called the accessory belt. The way cars work has changed, however, so we call it the serpentine belt because of the way it “snakes” through the engine.

How do you know if you need to replace the belt?

Because the serpentine belt runs through so many systems, including some that your car just won’t run without, you don’t want it to wear out and break. A serpentine belt can usually last between 60,000 to 100,000 miles, depending on the vehicle. To be safe, you should have your auto repair shop check on it every time you bring your car in for a regular maintenance interval. Cracks in the rubber, shiny spots, fraying at the edges, and smooth areas on the ribbing are all signs that you need a new serpentine belt. Squealing and chirping from under your hood can also mean the belt slipping or misaligned.

Come to Mike Brailey’s for All Your Auto Repair Needs!

Mike Brailey’s Auto is the place to take your car when you need a major repair or routine maintenance. Our team can handle any auto repair on any vehicle. We’ll ensure that your car is safe to drive and have you back on the road in no time. 

Contact us at (603) 627-8867 for auto repair on foreign and domestic vehicles.