What Happens to a Car When the Serpentine Belt Breaks?

Serpentine belt inside an engine.

What Happens to a Car When the Serpentine Belt Breaks?

Serpentine belt replacement is a very important service. A broken serpentine belt will immediately lead to a loss of power assist for the steering system. For obvious reasons, this can be detrimental if your car is in motion. A broken serpentine belt will stop the water pump from circulating antifreeze through the cooling system. This ultimately means that once the serpentine belt breaks the engine can overheat anytime or anywhere.

What is the Average Cost to Replace a Serpentine Belt?

Typically, hiring a mechanic to replace a serpentine belt will cost around sixty to two-hundred dollars. That will include twenty-five to seventy-five dollars for the belt and about an hour of labor, which usually comes out to seventy-five to one-hundred and twenty dollars per hour. Replacing a serpentine belt will take longer for certain vehicles. This is because the belt will take longer to access if it is in a difficult to reach area.

What are the Symptoms of a Bad Serpentine Belt?

Is your serpentine belt acting up? Please review the following symptoms of a bad serpentine belt to make sure that your car problems are accurately diagnosed.

  • Squealing noise from the front of the vehicle. This symptom is difficult to ignore. If you notice a squealing noise that is being emitted from the front of your vehicle, it could be coming from the serpentine belt. 
  • If the power steering and the air conditioning are experiencing failure. The serpentine belt circulates coolant, also known as antifreeze, throughout the system. Two of the first systems that will experience failure without coolant are the power steering and the AC.
  • The engine is overheating. Another prime sign of a bad serpentine belt is your engine overheating.

What Does the Serpentine Belt Control?

The serpentine belt transports power to your vital automotive components. The serpentine belt is so named for the long, winding belt that keeps the alternator, the power steering pump, and the air conditioning running smoothly and effectively. In some cases, the serpentine belt controls the water pump. An operational serpentine belt equivocates into a smoothly running engine.

How Many Years Does a Serpentine Belt Last?

With improvements in rubber, serpentine belts now last much longer than they did in previous decades. Most serpentine belts generally last between fifty-thousand and one-hundred thousand miles. It is important to know that eventually, all serpentine belts deteriorate. This is because serpentine belts fall apart due to continuous exposure to heat and friction. In such cases, they will need to be replaced.

Can Car Run Without Serpentine Belt

The short and accurate answer to this question is no. Cars need serpentine belts to function. Without a serpentine belt, the engine cannot cool properly. This is because serpentine belts circulate coolant throughout the engine. The first parts of the engine to be affected are the power steering and the air conditioning. From time to time, parts of your car and your home need to be repaired. If your home needs roof repair, please make sure to call a qualified, licensed and insured roofing company.

Is Serpentine Belt Cracked

Minuscule cracks in a serpentine belt are worthy of investigating. While the belt may not need to be replaced in the here and now, they are a sign of things to come. Small cracks eventually become larger cracks. If you are nearing the fifty-thousand-mile mark, it will be important to connect with a local, licensed and insured mechanic in order to determine what an appropriate course of action is.

Can Serpentine Belt Cause Engine Stall

Serpentine belt failure can cause your car’s power steering system to fail. It can also cause your alternator or water pump to cease to work. When these important systems halt, your engine will fail to function at an appropriate level. When the serpentine belt completely breaks, your engine will stall which is not only dangerous, it is also inconvenient. If it occurs on the highway, the danger escalates dramatically.

Mechanic tinkering with engine, including serpentine belt

Which Serpentine Belt Do I Need

There are different brands of serpentine belts on the market. Bando and Dayco belts, for example, are available on the market. These brands tend to be highly recommended by professional auto resources such as Firestone. A good serpentine belt will have advanced rubber components designed to possess increased durability and superior wear protection. Your local, licensed and insured mechanic will be able to provide details concerning which serpentine belt is right for your vehicle. Their choices will be both informed and experienced. 

Do you think that you are experiencing a serpentine belt problem? Our friendly operators at Japanese Car Specialties are available now at 949-583-0811 to schedule a replacement for your serpentine belt in Mission Viejo, CA.