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Car Maintenance Basics: Belts and Hoses


Open your vehicle’s hood and there’s a lot to see. All the components work together to make your car run as it should. It only takes one small part malfunctioning to sideline your plans. Your vehicle has many different belts and hoses that each serve their own important function. Let’s take a look under the hood AND find out what you may experience when these critical elements fail.

Types of Belts and Hoses

Here’s a rundown of your vehicle’s hoses.

  • Top and bottom radiator hoses. The top hose carries coolant to the radiator. The bottom hose carries the cooled fluid to the water pump, where it travels through the thermostat and on to the engine.
  • Bypass hose. When your car is initially warming up, this hose takes the cooled fluid directly to the engine to speed up the process.
  • Heater hose. This hose is responsible for circulating hot coolant to the heating system, which keeps you toasty warm.

When a hose goes bad, you’ll notice signs of hardening. You may also see bulging or swelling and cracks. Leaks can develop and you may notice liquid on the outside of the hose.

Let’s move on to your car’s belts.

  • V-belt or serpentine belt. Your car is controlled by one serpentine belt or a series of v-belts. They provide power to the water pump, alternator, power steering system, and cooling fans. Be sure to have your mechanic inspect these belts regularly because they’re expensive to replace and a failure will result in a breakdown.
  • Timing belt. An issue with this important component can cause engine damage, possibly even a full engine replacement. It should be replaced according to your car’s owner’s manual recommendations.

When it comes to belts, you’re looking for worn or broken teeth, cracks, excessive wear, contamination by oil or grease, and edge damage. You should always look for splits and cracks. One of the most obvious signs you have a belt on the way out is a high-pitched squealing when you start the car or accelerate.

Maintaining Belts and Hoses

The various elements that keep your vehicle humming are important in their own specific ways. It’s important that you keep up with regular maintenance and alert your trusted auto technician right away if you notice any signs or symptoms of trouble with your belts or hoses. Let Conrad’s take care of your auto maintenance needs before a small issue turns into a big problem. Give us a call today!

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