Belts and Hoses
Your vehicle engine relies heavily upon the smooth operation of a variety of belts and hoses. These include some of the following:
· a fan belt
· a timing belt
· radiator hoses; and
· coolant hoses.
A timing belt is, as suggested by its name, used to regulate the timing of your engine’s parts. In this instance, it is designed to regulate the timing of your engine valves. Timing belts are the modern day version of timing chains which, at least through the 1970s, performed such valve timing functions. Among automotive repair industry members, this item is also commonly called a cam belt. The timing belt is not universal among all vehicles, however. For example, Mercedes-Benz and BMW historically have manufactured their vehicles to utilize durable timing chains as opposed to belts. In either scenario, it is important that your timing belt be serviced routinely and to ensure its proper and optimal operation.
As also suggested by its name, a fan belt is attached to your engine’s fan. The fan belt is often referred to industry circles as a drive belt. Regardless of which moniker is used, this belt is essential to the functioning of your engine’s cooling fan to the alternator and the crankshaft pulley. If your engine’s cooling fan is not working property, often as a result of a faulty drive belt, it can result in engine failure and breakdown.
A radiator and coolant hose is vital to the temperature regulation of your engine during vehicle operation. The hoses are responsible for transporting the flow of coolant as required by your engine due to temperature increases, as well as recycling of such fluid back to your radiator.
Engine belts and hoses, like your tires, are made of rubber. However, due to exposure to extreme cold and sub-freezing temperatures, age and plain wear and tear, the belts can become dried out. If so, they are likely to crack. In addition, simple vibration of the engine can also result in your belts becoming loose. Moreover, an average car belt can be expected to make literally several million revolutions each year. As such, proper maintenance is extremely important.
It is strongly recommended that you should have your belts and hoses evaluated by a qualified technician each time you bring your car or light duty truck in for a tune-up or oil change. In fact, this is an easy way to avoid more serious headaches, as most roadside breakdowns are caused by the failure of an engine belt or hose.