A common question we hear from our customers is, “When should my fan belt be changed?” Belts and hoses are a big topic of interest among our Conway, AR clients, and the answer to this question really depends on the frequency with which you drive your vehicle, how many miles you put on it and the kind of belt or hose in question.
As a general rule, most hose manufacturers recommend replacing them every four years, with V-belts recommended for replacement every three years or 36,000 miles. It is much more likely that the part will fail once you get past the fourth year of service for hoses, and the third year for belts, so it’s better to replace them early on than to risk failure, which could cause damage to other parts of your vehicle.
Of course, it’s one thing to know you should change your belts or hoses before they fail—it’s another thing to actually do it. You can save yourself a lot of money and inconvenience by doing so, but it’s something many car owners simply don’t think about.
Why it’s important to stay on top of belt and hose changes
All rubber hoses will deteriorate with age. They start to become brittle, which leads to the formation of small cracks in the rubber that cause the hoses to blister, split and leak. Contamination of the oil and atmospheric ozone can hasten the process of these hoses deteriorating, as can the vibration and motion of the engine if the hoses are rubbing up against other parts or are too short for their purposes. This goes for all hoses, including fuel, vacuum, emission and coolant hoses.
The only real way to determine if your hoses are in bad condition is to perform regular visual inspections. You can also pinch the hoses to check and see the state of the rubber and if there are any cracks forming in them. This can help you determine about how long you have before you need to make a change. Even with this strategy, though, hoses that appear okay on the outside may have already started to deteriorate on the inside, and could even be on the cusp of failure. This is most likely to happen when electrochemical degradation occurs, which can cause internal corrosion.
Think of it this way: the coolant in the engine acts like an electrolyte, allowing a current to pass through between the radiator and the engine. Over time, this results in tiny cracks forming inside the hose. Eventually this will result in small leaks, further weakening the fibers of the hose before full-on failure occurs.
For belts, the main causes of wear and tear are mileage and heat, so the more miles you put on your vehicle and the higher the operating temperature of the engine, the faster the belts will break down. This will happen especially quickly if the belts are too loose.
For more information about how frequently you should change your belts and hoses and to learn how to go about changing a fan belt in Conway, AR, contact Riverdale Automotive today.