Signs You Need to Replace Your Drive Belt

Your engine's drive belt, also sometimes referred to as a serpentine belt, is an integral part of your engine, and ensures that a variety of moving parts associated with your vehicle's engine continue to operate smoothly. A damaged, worn, or simply old drive belt could greatly hinder the operation of your vehicle and affect the amount of control that you have over your car while driving. Thankfully, there are a couple of warning signs that you can watch out for to help determine when it's time to see a mechanic to have your drive belt replaced.

High-Pitched Noises

If you notice that your engine seems to be making high-pitched noises and squeaks, especially if it occurs as you accelerate, your drive belt may be affected by oil or another liquid that has leaked onto the belt itself. While this sounds like a minor issue, the liquids and fluids within your engine can quickly degrade the rubber of your drive belt, causing it to rip and fall apart suddenly, seemingly without warning.

Poor System Operation

If you notice that various systems within your vehicle are working less effectively than before, or even not at all, a broken or damaged drive belt is most likely to blame. Failing power steering, air conditioning, and other similar secondary systems within your vehicle are all a clear indication that your drive belt needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

Engine Heating

Your drive belt is one of the central parts of your engine's cooling system, which means that if it fails or begins to operate inefficiently, your engine can begin to overheat. Keep an eye on your car's temperature gauge to determine if it is suddenly and inexplicably overheating. If it does, and this happens more than once, your drive belt is most likely to blame.

Visual Inspection

Instead of waiting for a warning sign to manifest, you can open up your car's hood to take a look at the drive belt and see if there are any signs of physical damage or wear. The belt can be located on the engine block itself and will usually (though it depends on the make, model, and year of your vehicle) be positioned near the front of the engine. Check for any signs of rips or breaks, as well as signs of liquid that may be on the rubber, as these can indicate that it's time to replace the belt.