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How to Inspect Engine Belts and Hoses

The engine in your vehicle uses belts to drive many components such as air conditioning, power steering and even your engine's fan. Over time these belts become worn, and if they break there could be serious damage.

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Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Check Belt Tightness

Each time you top off fluid in your engine inspect the belts for signs of wear. Check that belts are tight and if they give more than a half-inch, adjust the tension or replace the belt tensioner. Most accessory parts will have a "pivot bolt" that when lessened, allows you to pull the part back and make the belt more taut. Once the belt has been pulled to the desired tension, tighten the pivot bolt.

Step 3: Check for Cracking in Belts

Look for signs of cracking, fraying or splitting in your belts. Most modern vehicles have a single, long belt called a serpentine that drives all the engine's accessories.

Step 4: Check Sidewalls for Glazing

Check the sidewalls for any glazing which is caused by the heat generated from belts slipping on the pulleys. This slipping is usually caused by low tension, grease or oil on the pulleys. Check your owner's manual for the proper belt replacement interval and make sure you install the proper sized belt for your vehicle.

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