It Could Be Time for Some Belt Tightening

Regular checks on the condition of your engine belts is a matter of good car care for Madison drivers and could prevent a breakdown.

For the past week or so, most peoples’ attention has been turned to the weather, digging out from under snow drifts and safely negotiating slippery streets once they’ve tunneled their way to their cars. But the non-profit Car Care Council says drivers also need to pay attention to preventive maintenance to make sure they’re not stranded in a snow drift. Specifically, the council says, drivers need to make sure they have their belts (their engine belts, that is) checked regularly.

“Losing a belt can mean immediate trouble for the engine and a breakdown for you,” the council says. “A vehicle’s belts are essential to the cooling, air conditioning and charging systems of the engine. Serpentine belts are used to turn the water pump, alternator, power steering and air-conditioning compressor. Older cars use V-belts for various accessories and failure of this belt could strand a driver.”

Results of vehicle inspection events conducted around the country during National Car Care Month in April and Fall Car Care Month in October revealed that 12 percent of vehicles had belts in need of replacement, the council said.

Rich White, the council’s executive director, emphasized the importance of making sure your engine’s belts are adjusted properly and aren’t worn.

“You don’t want to be stranded because of a bad belt that could have been diagnosed with simple preventive maintenance,” White said. “If the serpentine belt fails or breaks, the engine will fail to run and you may be stuck. The Car Care Council recommends replacing belts at specified intervals to save you from the hassle of a breakdown.”

The council recommends that serpentine and V-belts should be checked for looseness and their overall condition. V-belts should be replaced when cracked, frayed, glazed or showing signs of excessive wear. Noise in the belt system is a sign of wear and the smell of burnt rubber can indicate a slipping belt, according to the council.

“When changing a serpentine belt, it is important to check all the components in the serpentine system as tensioners and pulleys wear at the same rate as the belt and should be inspected,” the council said.

That’s what the expert, ASE-certified auto mechanics at Terry’s Car Care auto repair shop in Madison do during our 87-point inspection. While you’re here, ask us about our $25 coupon for savings on a belt and tensioner. It’s one of several money-savings offers. To see them all, click here.

Terry’s has been trusted for car care in Madison for more than 46 years. We’re locally owned and conveniently located in the isthmus so you can leave your car for a checkup and wander over to the Historical Museum for today’s brown bag session on the science behind the invesigation of the Lindbergh kidnapping.

Car Care Madison | Auto Mechanic Madison | Auto Repair Madison

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