Visible cracks and abrasions, squeaky noise, poorer battery charging or AC operation - all these are symptoms of a worn timing belt. If this is the case, the belt requires changing, which, however, is not easy. Depending on the car model, the timing belt powers many important devices, e.g. the AC compressor, the power-steering pump, the cooling system pump or the alternator. This is why it is important to make sure that it is always in a good condition.
What is the role of a V-belt?
A V-belt transfers power from the crankshaft to the other components of the engine, powering the power steering pump, alternator, air-conditioning compressor, additional air pump and the cooling fluid pump. A lot of systems depend on the V-belt, hence its failure may disable your car altogether.
How is a V-belt changed?
A V-belt can be changed in a number of ways, depending on the car and the technical solutions applied by the manufacturer. Usually, the process requires specialist tools and expertise in handling a particular car model. The best idea is to have it done by a garage.
How do you know that the V-belt is not working properly?
You can tell a defective V-belt by the squeaky sound it produces, while the engine is on, or by inadequate power being transmitted to particular devices, resulting in poorer air-conditioning operation or battery undercharging due to improper operation of the alternator. It is difficult to precisely determine the useful life of a V-belt. One thing for certain, though - if you buy a high-quality belt, it will certainly last longer than a cheap one.
What else to keep in mind?
When changing a V-belt a good idea is to check the condition of the pulleys in terms of the surface wear or convolution, as this type of failures will cause a new belt to wear very quickly, again causing poor operation of your car.