Even if you're handy under the hood, potential belt and hose problems can't always be identified by visual inspection. Belts and hoses are integral parts of your vehicle, and failure can cause multiple issues - especially if you're on the open road. If the water pump belt breaks or a hose leaks, the cooling system can be compromised and you'll end up with an overheated engine. Belt and hose damage or deterioration can also lead to loss of power steering, loss of electrical power, and even catastrophic engine failure.
Coolant and heater hoses are made from flexible rubber and other compounds, and are designed to absorb vibration between the radiator and engine. They're susceptible to damage from age, dirt, oil and extreme temperatures.
When inspecting hoses, wait until the engine is completely cool, then look and feel for bulges, nicks, fraying, and cracks around the bends. Squeeze the hose to feel for mushy spots that indicate interior breakdown. A strong hose should be firm with a slight pliant feel. Most mechanics recommend replacing hoses every four years, and replacing all hoses when one fails.
Engine Drive Belts in most vehicles today are of the multi-grooved, serpentine variety that drives the A/C compressor, power-steering pump, water pump and alternator. While modern belts are more durable than those found in older vehicles, regular accessory belt inspections are still necessary. Look for splits, fraying and cracks on the inside and outside of the belt, as well as signs of glazing, which is premature wear due to overheating.
Since not all hose and belt damage can be identified visually, it's important to have an auto mechanic with the right tools and experience periodically inspect hose and belt condition. For belt and hose inspection in Vancouver, David's Auto Repair. Visit online at www.DavidsAutoRepair.com.