Timing Belts & Hoses in Austin, TX
Most people know what a belt or hose is, but they often ignore the importance of these common rubber parts.
Almost 100 years ago, the Gates company created and made the first automotive belt. It was in the shape of a “V” and was referred to as a V belt. Now, most cars use serpentine belts. The serpentine belt increases the surface area, reducing squeals and it does not stretch the way V belts did.
The belt(s) on a vehicle transfer power from the engine to various accessories. These include the alternator, water pump, power steering pump, air conditioning compressor and smog control pumps.
Most modern cars have only one belt, so the loss of the belt will cause a shut-down of the vehicle. It’s always a good idea to replace the belt as a preventative maintenance item, rather than wait until it is in bad shape. It is recommended that the rubber items, like belts and hoses be replace every 3 years. The appearance of a belt or hose, is no indication of future failure.
The rubber items on a car are subject to ozone damage, pressure, heat and oil. After 3 years, the rubber hardens and cracks due to these factors. Oil is especially damaging to rubber. It softens and deteriorates the rubber, therefore an oil leak in the engine can destroy a belt or hose long before its time.
Hoses carry engine coolant from the engine to various places on the car, including the heater. A rupture in any hose on the vehicle, and there are as many as 10, can cause a loss of coolant and overheat the engine.
Anytime an engine overheats, the potential for major engine damage exists and often does happen. A small pin hole in a $30.00 hose can cause thousands of dollars in damage to the engine, therefore it makes good sense to replace the hoses before they fail.
The timing belt is a little different. It is a special belt made to last 60,000 miles, but it should be replaced faithfully at that mileage. The timing belt(s) run from the engine’s crankshaft to the camshaft(s) and keep the valves in time with the pistons. When the belt fails, the valves and pistons hit each other, causing major damage to the engine.
The timing belt is often overlooked because it is not as visible as the other belts. The timing belt is hidden behind engine covers and the covers must be removed in order to inspect the belt.
The belts and hoses should be inspected at every oil change and replaced when a problem arises or at 3 years. The key is to replace them BEFORE they start showing signs of wear and tear.