Belt and Hose Vehicle Inspections for Fall Car Care at Graff Chevrolet Okemos
The belts and hoses in your vehicle are some of the most vital performance components because they enable your car to run properly, yet they often go overlooked in routine maintenance. Your vehicle's belts are responsible for transferring power and running accessory components, while your hoses serve the sole purpose of transferring fluids. Broken or even damaged belts and hoses can compromise your overall safety, and leave you in a sticky situation if your car is disabled. These parts don't need replacing on a regular basis, but having them inspected seasonally or annually will help to detect any possible damage before it becomes a bigger issue.
Because of the weather change that occurs in the fall season, belt and hose vehicle inspections are an important part of Fall Car Care at Graff Chevrolet Okemos. These components are more susceptible to damage during extreme hot or cold weather. Coming out of the hot summer weather and into the cold fall season is the ideal time to make sure your vehicle belts and hoses are in good condition. On this page we'll discuss the importance of these components, their purpose, and how to know if a part is damaged. Explore the information below, and let us know if you have any questions regarding your belts, hoses, or any other auto service!
Vehicle Belt Maintenance Tips
Your vehicle's belts control the running of other components under the hood like the alternator, power steering, AC compressor, water pump, and even the timing of your engine valves’ intake and exhaust. Vehicles contain two types of belts: a timing belt, and an accessory belt, sometimes called a serpentine or drive belt. If either of these belts are damaged, even slightly, it can take a toll on your vehicle's performance and could lead to destructive engine-overheating. A broken belt can disable your car completely. Having belts regularly inspected for cracks, fraying, or stretching will help you take care of the issue at hand, rather than dealing with a completely broken belt and disabled car down the road. Continue reading for each vehicle belt's purpose and maintenance tips for each:
Accessory/Drive/Serpentine Belt: These belts all hold the same purpose of transferring power to accessories under the hood like the alternator, power steering, AC compressor, and water pump. Your car might have one or two accessory or drive belts, or one serpentine belt. They are named differently because of the way they look and run around the accessory pulleys. For instance, the serpentine belt is named as such because of the way it "snakes" around the pulleys.
It's recommended to have these belts changed every 60,000-100,000 miles and inspected every 10,000-20,000 miles. While this is a good general recommendation, your Owner's Manual might state something different, specific to your make and model car. These belts can wear prematurely because of excessive heat, oil leaks, road dirt, and water. At Graff Okemos, we'll check for cracks, cuts, stretching, fraying, missing pieces, and other signs of wear to determine the health of your belts! Some signs you need a belt inspection or replacement:
- Your car is disabled completely
- Your engine is overheating
- You experience a loss in power steering
- You hear high-pitched squealing when accelerating
Timing Belt: This belt is responsible for the synchronization of the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft. This helps the engine's valves to open and close at the appropriate time during the cylinder's intake and exhaust strokes. This is also why this belt is sometimes known as the Cam Belt. Some cars, however, have a timing chain instead of a belt.
It's recommended to have these belts inspected every 10,000-20,000 miles and changed every 60,000-100,000 miles. Again, make sure to check your Owner's Manual for a make- and model-specific recommendation for when to inspect and change your timing belt. If you haven't had your timing belt inspected recently, our technicians at Graff Okemos would be happy to take a look during your next oil change. Some signs you need service or an inspection immediately include:
- Your car is disabled completely
- You see plastic camshaft gear pieces in the oil pan
- Loss of oil pressure - as a result of camshaft pieces in the oil
- You hear squeaking coming from the timing cover
- Your engine is "jumping"
- You have trouble starting the car
Vehicle Hose Service Tips
Your vehicle's hoses serve the sole purpose of moving the various fluids necessary to performance around the vehicle. There are a few hoses in your vehicle that, if broken, could disable your vehicle completely or seriously compromise your safety while driving. We'll discuss below the importance of your vehicle's hoses specific to each one and signs they might need replacing! We hope this information will remind you to have your hoses inspected as a part of your Fall Car Care routine. When you have these hoses inspected, our technicians will look for any cracks, corrosion, swelling, and for the toughness of the hose. Follow our vehicle hose service tips to ensure your safety and keep your car running smoothly.
Brake Hose: Your brake hose hosts the transfer of hydraulic brake fluid from the wheel cylinder to the caliper when you press the brake pedal. This hose is typically made of rubber, to provide flexibility for the vehicle's suspension, but can also be made of steel. Some signs your brake hose is broken or going bad are soft, mushy, or spongy feeling brakes, which might also indicate bad fluid, or loss of braking power completely. Because your brakes are a top safety component, we recommend having your brake hose and entire brake system checked as a part of your Fall Car Care!
Radiator Hoses: These hoses are some of the most important hoses in your vehicle because they're responsible for moving radiator fluid or coolant around your engine. The coolant helps regulate the temperature of the engine to avoid overheating or freezing. If you have a crack or leak in this hose, you might notice your engine temperature getting too hot, a puddle of brightly colored liquid under your vehicle, a drop in the coolant level or light on your dash, a sweet burning smell coming through your vents, and even visible smoking coming from the engine. If you're experiencing any of these signs, make sure to get your car into our Service Center at Graff Okemos right away as engine overheating can cause serious and costly damage. Because these hoses are so important, it's a good idea to have them regularly inspected!
Power Steering Hose: Your power steering hoses deliver power steering fluid to the power steering rack throughout a hydraulic, pressurized system. There are two hoses: the high-pressure hose that delivers fluid from the pump to the rack, and the low-pressure hose that delivers fluid from the rack to the pump. If your power steering hose is damaged or broken, you'll experience difficulty steering, leaking fluid, steering wheel vibrations when idling, or squealing noises while turning. If you're experiencing any of these signs, schedule a service appointment for your vehicle at Graff Okemos as soon as possible.
Fuel Hose: This hose is responsible for transferring fuel from your tank to your fuel pump. Typically the fuel hose will be made of reinforced rubber, but will sometimes be metal or plastic. A crack in your fuel hose can mean you're spending more on fuel than you should be, and will decrease the overall efficiency of your vehicle. Winter can especially take a toll on the fuel hose because of the snow and salt on the roads. Making sure your hose is in good condition for the weather ahead is as simple as asking for an inspection at Graff Okemos! Some signs you can look for if you suspect a leak include: a puddle of gas under your car, hard starts, vehicle won't start at all, or smelling gasoline.
Schedule Your Vehicle Belt and Hose Inspections and Maintenance in Okemos, MI at Graff Chevrolet
We want you to be safe on the road throughout the fall season and beyond! We can help you do so with routine maintenance, and Fall Car Care auto services. Because of the transitional weather, and introduction to the cold temperatures, now is the perfect time to schedule your vehicle belt and hose inspections and maintenance in Okemos, MI at Graff Chevrolet. You'll feel confident in bringing your car, truck, SUV, or crossover to us because of our transparent service and friendly, knowledgeable staff of auto experts. Our technicians are ASE Certified and factory-trained and can help get any make and model ready for fall! For your convenience, you can schedule a service appointment online, or by giving us a call at (517) 349-8300. We’re glad to service our neighbors in Okemos, East Lansing, Mason, Haslett, Dewitt, Williamston, and beyond! We look forward to seeing you.