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Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Your belts drive critical systems of your car, including your alternator which recharges your battery, your water pump which keeps your engine cool, your air conditioner which keeps you cool, and your power steering pump. If a belt breaks, the effects can range from the simple inconvenience of not having your air conditioning to leaving you stranded in traffic to overheating and ruining your engine.V-belts will typically last three years or 30,000 miles. Serpentine belts will go farther, lasting five years or 50,000 miles. Belts will sometimes show visible signs of age before they break, including cracking, fraying, and glazing. Modern belts often show no visible signs of deterioration before they break, however.
Like belts, hoses harden, split, or soften with age. Sometimes the aging is visible. Often, however, there are no outward signs of problems before a hose bursts or starts leaking. According to one study, internal corrosion caused by electrochemical reactions in the cooling system is the leading cause of hose failure. Hose manufacturers recommend replacing hoses every four years.
Many of the cars on the road today have timing belts. They keep the valves and pistons in your car in synch. These belts take the place of a timing chain. The advantage is that they are lighter and more fuel efficient. The drawback is that they wear out quicker. Like a fan belt, a timing belt needs to be replaced before it breaks. The timing belt needs to be replaced every 50,000-60,000 miles on most cars, but the exact interval depends on the make and model of your car.If you wait too long and your belt breaks while you are driving down the road, your engine loses its coordination. This can have horrible results. Your pistons may hit your valves, causing major damage to the head of your engine. It is common for repair bills to run $1000 to $2000 for this problem. Replacing your timing belt is one maintenance item you never want to skip.

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