Why is Belt and Hose Car Maintenance So Important?
Editor’s Note: This blog and information have been updated as of October 2021.
Your belts and hoses are essential components of your vehicle.
While the above is true, they continually go overlooked by car owners and mechanics alike. Some vehicle owners will think that hoses and belts are only replaced and never maintained, but this is far from the truth. Having proper maintenance performed on your components is crucial to protecting your car's performance and system from damage.
Today, the Christian Brothers Automotive team discusses what belts and hoses do for your car, why they should be inspected with the rest of your vehicle, and what you can do to maintain them.
What Do Belts and Hoses Do?
Though they may seem insignificant on the surface level, belts and hoses do most of the work to keep things running smoothly and safely, just like other heavy machinery.
The Purpose of Belts
Your vehicle's belts work hard to distribute the power created from the engine throughout the rest of the vehicle via a series of other belts and pulleys.
The belts in your car include:
- Timing Belt – Your car's timing belt allows the camshaft and crankshaft to work together, operating both the valves of your engine as well as the pistons. If these two components don't sync correctly, damage may occur to any of these parts.
- Serpentine Belt – If your car is newer, it probably has a serpentine belt. Commonly referred to as a fan belt or accessory belt, it connects the engine to the other accessories in the car. The belt provides power to include your power steering pump, alternator, air conditioning compressor, radiator cooling fan, and water pump.
The Purpose of Hoses
Your car's hoses work hard to distribute the different fluids in your vehicle, including gas, air, brake, and antifreeze. The hoses face extreme pressure and must be maintained regularly to avoid ruptures and leaks.
The hoses in your car include:
- Heater Hose – This hose transfers coolant to the heater core of the engine. The hoses used for this connection are made of a specialized material able to withstand high temperatures without damage.
- Fuel Hose – Just as it sounds, your fuel hose moves the fuel from your vehicle's gas tank to your vehicle's engine. The fuel hose is vital in turning gasoline into power.
- Radiator Hose – Your coolant or radiator hose is key to keeping your whole car from overheating. If things have been getting hot, you may need a repair or replacement.
- Power Steering – A few hoses are used throughout your power steering system to move the fluid into the steering equipment. The power steering helps you make turns with ease.
- Brake Fluid Hose – The brake hoses are crucial to your car's hydraulic brake system. The hoses feed the fluid directly into the calipers, allowing you to slow down.
Why Do I Need my Car Belts & Hoses Checked?
All in all, taking the extra time to check the health of your vehicle's belts and hoses ensures your car will get you where you need to go safe and sound. It'll also help you extend the lifespan of your vehicle and its parts, as well as prevent needing to spend thousands of dollars on repairs and replacements.
The Dangers of Worn Belts & Hoses
If a belt or hose is worn out due to a lack of maintenance or age, it can snap or unhook, causing severe damage to your vehicle and its engine. Additionally, any sudden damage can leave you and your vehicle stranded without much chance of getting things moving again.
In general, belts and hoses replacement costs upwards of $200. This price does not account for any repairs needed for the car or engine to recover from the damage caused by a broken belt or hose.
How Do I Check My Car's Belts and Hoses?
It's a good idea to ensure your vehicle is ready by performing proper car maintenance regularly. An essential but often ignored step of auto maintenance is checking hoses and belts. Doing so at least once a month helps you ensure your car is in peak performance.
Look for Signs of Belt Damage
Visually inspect your engines and pump belts for cracks, fraying, exposed threads, and glazing on both sides of the belt. You also may be able to hear a squealing noise when you turn on your car, as well as a power loss of one or more of your car's belt-powered accessories.
Look for Signs of Hose Damage
Pinch your hoses to check for rigidity. A suitable hose should be flexible and never stick together when pushed in. Additionally, be sure to inspect for signs of swelling at the connection points. You also may notice excessive exhaust, smoke, or poor acceleration.
It's important to replace your serpentine and timing belts every 50,000 miles and your hoses every four years, regardless of mileage. Scheduling professional routine auto maintenance and performing monthly checks on your own can save you from a world of hurt – and expensive repairs!
Schedule Your Expert Car Maintenance
If you're looking to have a professional check your car's belts and hoses for you, as well as complete any other car maintenance needed, let the trustworthy mechanics at Christian Brothers Automotive take care of you! Since 1982, our local auto shops have provided the best auto repair service paired with the best customer service that thousands of people turn to.
Ready to get started? Locate your closest CBA auto shop online and give them a call!