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How to inspect the belts and hoses on your car

Hand holding a vehicle belt with a blurred car engine as background 

Belts and hoses play an essential role in your car’s ability to function safely and efficiently. If these components fail, you may find yourself contending with an overheated engine, loss of power steering or an electrical charging system failure. These are all issues best avoided, so make sure to have your belts and hoses inspected as part of your car’s regular maintenance.

The causes of belt and hose failure

There are several factors that can play into why a belt or hose might fail. The coolant and heater hoses, which are made of rubber, take a beating from regular exposure to oil, dirt and fluctuating temperatures. Plus, electrochemical degradation is a major source of deterioration. This is when heat and chemicals eat away at the hose from the inside. Accessory belts, like coolant and heater hoses, are exposed to regular wear and tear from heat, oil and abrasion that can cause them to crack or fray.

How to check coolant and heater hoses

If you notice that your coolant recovery tank is often low, especially if you’ve been filling it regularly, there may be a leak in the cooling system. Sometimes, you can identify a leak by noticing traces of white, pink, green or blue coolant residue in the engine bay. Other times, you’ll have to go searching for a leak. When the hoses are cool, they should feel firm and malleable, not squishy. Cracks, bulges and collapsed portions of hose are also major warning signs.

Indicators of damage to accessory belts

The first step in examining accessory belts is to look for glazing on the top and sides. A glazed belt can easily slip or crack, which can cause the engine to overheat. Also, be on the lookout for obvious cracks and fraying. To check for damage to the underside of the belt, as well as to make sure there’s sufficient tension in the belt, try twisting it 90 degrees. If you’re able to twist it farther than that, or if you notice separating layers or cracks, it’s time for a replacement.

Auto repairs in Alberta and British Columbia

If you’ve noticed signs of a leak in your car’s cooling system or heard a high-pitched whine or vibrations that might indicate an issue with the belt tension, bring your car in to Minit-Tune and Brake for an inspection and tune-up. Preventive maintenance can save you time and money by warding off more expensive repair jobs. To book an appointment at a location near to you, contact us today.


Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres Address Common Issues

Here at Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres in British Columbia, we’re always pleased to help our customers get the most out of their cars and trucks. To that end, we’ll add a relevant blog topic from time to time to keep you up to date and getting the most out of your vehicle.