Most vehicle break downs
today are related to belts, hoses and cooling system problems. Today’s vehicles run hotter than ever before and have
more packed into a tighter area than ever before. Belts and hoses are prone to cracking and deterioration from the
elements. These items often can crack, leak, or fray from constant exposure to heat, vibration, and other harmful
chemicals. If not properly maintained, any one of these could spell disaster for your engine performance.
Here are some of our recommendations to ensure belt and hose quality:
Visual Inspection of Belts
● Search for clear indications of
damage (cracking, glazing, softening, or peeling)
● Test for correct tension
● Test for correct alignment
● Record belt condition for future
Visual Inspection of Hoses
● Search for leaks, cracks, hardening,
● Test cooling system for leaks using
state-of-the-art pressure technology
● Record hose condition for future
Get your vehicle's belts and hoses inspected on a regular basis because
damaged pieces can seriously harm your vehicle. Research shows that while
most people get regular oil changes, they neglect the condition of their
belts and hoses. A leaking hose or a cracked belt will cause you more
trouble than an overdue oil change ever will.
Below are brief descriptions of some of the different belts and hoses we
DID YOU KNOW?
They say timing is everything. That's doubly true when it comes to your timing belt. First, your
timing belt keeps your valves operating in time with your engine so that it runs properly. Second, if you replace your
timing belt on schedule, you'll likely avoid the downtime and expense that can result from a broken or slipping timing belt.
At Sparks Tire & Auto in St. Charles we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 636-946-5900 and let us
help keep you safely and economically on the road... (Read
● Cooling System
● Radiator Hose
● Heater Hose
● Fuel Hose
● Power Steering Hose
● Heater Core
● Engine Coolant
● Power Steering Pump
● Timing Belt
● Serpentine Belt
● Water Pump
● Power Steering Pump
● A/C Compressor
● Radiator Cooling Fan
● Steering Gear
● Electrical Charging System
The engine drives some of your vehicle's accessories. Instead of
being supplied by electric power, these accessories rely on a series
of pulleys and belts to operate. Some of these accessories include:
● Power steering pump
● Air conditioning compressor
● Radiator cooling fan
● Water pump
Some vehicles require a single serpentine belt to power these
accessories (as opposed to several individual belts).
Accessory Drive Belts
While some accessories in your
car are electrically powered by the charging system, others use the engine
itself as their power source. The power for these accessories is delivered
by a system of pulleys and belts. Examples of these accessories are:
Water Pump for engine cooling
Power Steering Pump
Air Conditioning Compressor
Radiator Cooling Fan
Many late model cars use a
single serpentine belt in place of individual belts to drive these
If you think of hoses as your vehicle's circulatory system, then
you'll have an appropriate representation of their importance. Hoses
are composed of two rubber layers with fabric in between. Types of
hoses vary on make and model, but typically include:
● Fuel hose (sends gasoline from
the gas tank to the engine)
● Radiator and Heater Hoses -
These hoses convey coolant to the engine and heater core.
● Power steering hose (connects
power steering pump to steering equipment)
You know that long belt
that snakes around the front of your engine? It’s called the serpentine
belt. The serpentine belt is driven by the engine as it turns.
It powers your alternator, air conditioning compressor,
and power steeringpump. On some vehicles it also runs
the water pump, radiator fan, and power brakes.
Sounds like a lot of important stuff doesn’t it?
If your serpentine belt were to break on one of our
roads, your battery would die in a few miles. If it runs your fan or
water pump, your engine could overheat. And steering and braking
could be more difficult. Obviously, the best thing is to replace
your serpentine belt before it breaks.
Check your owner’s manual for when it’s recommended that you replace
your serpentine belt – or just ask our service
advisor for assistance. We can inspect the belt as well to
see if it’s in trouble.
You may have been told by a service advisor to look for
cracks in your belt to see if it needs to be replaced. Of course,
cracks are still a concern, but modern belt material doesn’t crack
as often as old belts did. What we look for these days is the
thickness of the belt. There are tools available that measures the
depth of the grooves in the belt to see if it needs replacing.
A worn belt can slip (squeal) or be misaligned, putting undue stress on the
accessories it runs.
Now you can imagine it’s important for the belt to be tight, so
there’s a tensioner pulley on your engine that puts pressure
on the belt to keep it at the right tension. The spring on the
tensioner wears out over time so we recommend replacing the
tensioner pulley at the same time as the serpentine belt.
Replacing your serpentine belt on schedule, or when an inspection
warrants it, will keep you from an unexpected breakdown.
Radiator & Coolant Hoses
and coolant hoses are vital to keep your engine from overheating.
With time and use, hoses become brittle and weak. Don't wait for a
failed radiator or coolant hose to leave you stranded.
Upper Radiator Hose
Lower Radiator Hose
Cooling hoses should be
replaced every 5 years or 100,000 miles.
Piston engines can generally be divided into two groups-Interference
AND non-interference engines.
If a timing belt breaks on a non-Interference engine the engine will
'free-wheel' and the piston will not contact the valves.
On the other hand, interference engines will not 'free-wheel".
Severe valve train and piston damage can result if the timing belt
breaks while the engine is running.
TIMING BELT REPLACEMENT GUIDE
Most manufactures have recommended replacement Intervals for
replacing timing belts. A typical service Interval in between 50,000
and 60,000 miles. It is important to replace timing belts at
recommended Intervals even if the vehicle has a non-interference
engine. Proper maintenance prevents expensive tow bills and possible
accidents due to loss of engine power while traveling at highway
Timing Belt - NAPA Service Assistant
Let's address a maintenance item for everyone in St. Charles, Missouri – timing belt replacement. It's important because
letting this one slide can lead to very engine damage. Your timing belt choreographs the timing of your combustion process.
Your pistons travel up and down in the cylinder. Intake valves open at the right time to let in air and fuel, they close at
the right time to allow the fuel to burn and then the exhaust valves open at the right time to let out the exhaust... (Read