Signs Your Serpentine Belt is Failing

Also referred to as a fan belt or accessory belt, a serpentine belt is a long, thin piece of rubber that transfers power via pulleys to various parts around the engine. These parts include the power steering pump, air conditioner compressor, alternator, and occasionally the water pump.

How Do I Know There's Something Wrong With the Serpentine Belt?

Due to the essential function this component plays, a number of signs will be displayed should it begin to malfunction or fail.

  • The air conditioner has stopped working. A number of issues may cause the AC to short, so this sign alone may not in itself signal an issue with the serpentine belt; nonetheless, it's an important malfunction to pay attention to and may in fact indicate an issue with it.
     

  • You hear a squealing sound coming from under the hood. This may be a sign the integrity of the rubber has been compromised and the belt needs to be replaced.
     

  • There is no power steering. This is a strong indicator. If you lose power steering in your vehicle, take it in for servicing as soon as possible.

Note: This issue may also be caused by low power steering fluid. Remember to regularly check your fluids!

  • Your car's engine has overheated, either once or repeatedly. This is applicable when the serpentine belt plays a role in supplying power to the water pump. A damaged or worn out belt will not be able to transfer power properly, and therefore the engine accessories it normally supports will be adversely impacted.
  • The belt has visible cracks or damage. Take a look under the hood and visually inspect the component or have a trusted individual do it for you. If cracks and damage are visible, it's time to have the belt replaced.
  • The car's battery has died. This can happen if the belt snaps or becomes unattached. In such a scenario, the alternator will not receive sufficient charge, thus leading to the battery draining and dying.

If you suspect issues with your car's serpentine belt, we invite you to bring your vehicle into Terry Sayther Automotive!