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Martinez Auto Repair

Timing Belt Vs. Serpentine Belt: What Is The Difference?

What is a Serpentine Belt?

A serpentine belt is a long belt used to transfer power from one engine accessory to the next. The belt connects the alternator, air conditioning, power steering pump, and water pump. Some people will refer to the serpentine belt as a fan belt or an accessory belt. Older models of vehicles used multiple sets of accessory belts to function, but the design has since been streamlined to only need one serpentine belt.

While using just one serpentine belt is efficient, the only downside is that damage to the belt can cause the entire car to stop working. If your serpentine belt break, the AC will stop working, you will lose control of the steering wheel, and the engine is in danger of overheating. Eventually, your battery will die, and the vehicle will lose all functions. In addition, since the serpentine belt is made from rubber, it might damage the engine accessories during a tear. This is why replacing your serpentine belt before it breaks is so important.

What is a Timing Belt?

The first difference between a serpentine belt and a timing belt is their functions in your vehicle. While the serpentine belt is located outside the engine, the timing belt is found within the engine and is designed to keep the crankshaft and camshaft working in tandem. The timing belt ensures the engine intake and exhaust valves open and shut in sync with the engine pistons.

How Can You Tell the Two Belts Apart?

It is easy to tell the two belts apart because they have different indentations on the surfaces. A timing belt is designed with horizontal notches to fit the cogwheels of the crankshaft and camshaft. On the other hand, the serpentine belt features V-shaped notches running vertically along the belt.

Replacing these belts in time is crucial to keeping your car running smoothly. We invite you to bring your vehicle into our repair shop today for an inspection and an appointment to replace your belts. If you need any car repairs, Hagin's Auto is just a call away and always at your service.


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