A serpentine belt is not a very common piece of equipment that everyone has heard about, but it holds immense importance to a car.
It can happen to anyone that your serpentine belt may break due to some problem. Now you might be wondering why the serpentine belt break and want to know the real reason of breaking, right?
It is important to establish what a serpentine belt is. Well, a serpentine belt is a long belt made out of rubber, and its primary function is to transmit power to the engine accessories.
What are the main functions of a serpentine belt?
As I previously mentioned, a serpentine belt is responsible for transporting power to the engine accessories, and those include the alternator, power steering pump, and the air conditioning compressor.
Other names given to a serpentine belt include an accessory or fan belt. This name was given because vehicles used to have various types of drive belts that formed a link between the engine and other things like the radiator fan.
All modern vehicles today come equipped with one belt, and that is usually enough to power all the accessories, but it has a huge drawback, and that means when a car’s serpentine belt breaks, all the other functions are interrupted, and they stop working.
People often confuse the timing belt with the serpentine belt, but they are vastly different from each other.
The serpentine belt is more of a drive belt, and its location is outside of the engine, while a timing belt is the exact opposite and is considered as the timing belt and is located within the engine.
What happens when a serpentine belt breaks?
Before we deep dive into the reasons why your serpentine belt might break, it is detrimental to have knowledge of the outcomes that result when your belt breaks.
1. Trouble steering your car
A power steering is what helps you easily maneuver a car, but with your belt no longer in use, this will directly affect your steering pump and what you will notice next is your steering wheel gets heavier and heavier to the point you will notice a great deal of difference at heavy traffic.
2. Your AC will stop working
A disintegrated serpentine belt will affect the compressor of your car’s air conditioner, and the AC will ultimately not provide you with any cool air.
This isn’t a major deal breaker if you have alternative gadgets and options at your disposal, but to some, it may very well be a shocker.
3. Your vehicle might enter a limp mode
Now, what exactly is a limp mode? Well, during a limp mode is an automatic trigger that helps you protect your car from more extensive damage.
A limp mode might be a good safety measure, but it is by no means an ideal situation for a car to be in because it greatly decreases engine performance.
This limp mode is an indication that your serpentine belt is about to break.
Why Did My Serpentine Belt Break?
Breaking the serpentine belt is something that plagues everyone who might have been in such a situation before, and let’s discover the reasons why this might occur.
There can be a variety of reasons linked to a complete failure of your serpentine belt, and it can happen in wildly different scenarios.
Here are the common causes that can cause a serpentine belt to break:
A seized pulley, for once, can happen to anyone and is linked to the failure of your power steering. What results is an outrageously heavy steering wheel that will definitely make you have an arm workout.
Due to the constant build-up of force and pressure over time, your pulley and belt might snap in half.
Although it might be uncommon for an oil leak to break a serpentine belt in some cases, it might cause it, that is obviously depending on the severity of the situation.
A serpentine belt can also break due to the tensioner. When a tensioner breaks, it can lead to noises coming from your serpentine belt, and that will eventually lead to your belt being broken if this isn’t taken care of right away.
Constant exposure to heat and friction can also lead to the failure of a serpentine belt. These are some of the common reasons that might affect your serpentine belt, so the more you know, the better.
However, if you want a quick solution as to how to fix a broken serpentine belt then check out here.
How long can a car function with a broken belt?
Alright, I get it, your belt is broken, and now you have to deal with the misery of it, but the real question is, how long can your car last with a broken belt?
The time your car will last will obviously depend on the type of car you have but on average, it will last you around 30 to 90 minutes with a broken belt.
This also depends on the weather in your surrounding area. If it is significantly hotter, your engine will heat up much faster, and your car will quickly seize. That is not the case in winters when the engine takes time to heat up.
There you have it, now you know exactly why did my serpentine belt break? A serpentine belt is extremely crucial for modern-day cars, and it allows them to function smoothly.
One important thing to understand is that all belts can’t last forever. And over time, friction, wear, and tear will cause them to break in the future. But what you should do is do regular maintenance of your car so that you can prevent it from breaking.
This can happen to anyone at any time, so it’s always good to be prepared beforehand. Always account for any noises coming from your belt because that can give you a clearer picture of whether your belt is going to snap or not.
That’s it for this guide, and I will catch you in the next one.
1. How long can a car run without a serpentine belt?
2. Do you really need a serpentine belt tool for the DIYer?
3. How to Stretch a Belt Over a Pulley?
4. How to Use Stretch Belt Tool?
Hi, my name is Gabrielle. I have been into Automotive Industry for over 15 years. If you’re anything like me, then building, maintaining and improving your Automotive Industry/Projects is all part of the Automotive experience.
My goal with this blog is to share my experience with and help you discover new and exciting things about Automotive.