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AutoAid & Rescue Maintenance Tips: The Belt Goes On

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Today's AutoAid & Rescue auto maintenance article focuses on your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems. Let’s go over them.

First, the serpentine belt drives your sedan air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Los Angeles.

Next, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your sedan’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. AutoAid & Rescue Maintenance Tips The Belt Goes OnAll Los Angeles drivers know that without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.

The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering and power brakes. And, on many sedans, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within normal operating temperatrues as you drive around Los Angeles.

Now on some sedans, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt. So you can see the serpentine belt does a lot of work. And it if breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why manufactruers and your service advisor at AutoAid & Rescue have recommended that it be changed every so often so that it doesn’t fail.

Your Los Angeles service technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon and will measure the amount of belt material to make sure there is enough.


There’s a special, spring loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there’s a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn’t slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At AutoAid & Rescue, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

All in all, the serpentine belt’s an important part for the function of your sedan.
And it’s not that expensive to replace in Los Angeles – so it’s good to do so before it fails.

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