The rubber belts that run an endless loop in your car are known as known as serpentine belts or drive belts. These are used to drive many important features of your automobile. Alternators, water pumps, power steering pumps, and air conditioning compressor to name just a few parts driven by the serpentine belt. While most vehicles utilize a single belt system, some vehicles can deploy a two-belt system to deliver power.
Keeping an eye on the health of this belt is important since it does feed multiple systems that assist our motor is operating correctly. If a belt was to fail it could cause your engine to overheat and stop generating the power that it needs to recharge your electrical system. In addition, it could make it quite uncomfortable to drive as the steering would become more difficult and the heating and air conditioning systems would no longer function.
Visual inspection is the only true method to determine if your belt needs to be changed or it still has some life left in it. The major sign to look for is deep cracks in the backside of the belt. Small cracks do not mean imminent failure and keeping an eye on them to make sure they do not develop into deeper cracks is recommended. This is also noticeable when you start your vehicle or at low RPM your belts will seem to squeal. More than often than not, you will notice heavy damage to the serpentine belt before it actually fails potentially including up to the belt removing several of the belt grooves.
I recommend visiting a professional service center such one of the expert locations in the Reedman Toll Auto Group if you are concerned that you belts need to be replaced.