Belts and Hoses

If you think of all the materials that comprise your vehicle; steel, plastic, leather, glass, rubber - you can picture components in and around your car that are made of these materials. Think about rubber for a minute – the first thing (and for some the only thing) that comes to mind is the tires.

Well, there are two other rubber-based parts that can easily determine whether your car operates or hangs off the back of a tow truck….your belts and hoses.

While some accessories in your car like the stereo and A/C fan are electrically powered, others rely for power on the engine itself. These include:

  • Air conditioning compressor

  • Alternator

  • Power steering pump

  • Radiator cooling fan

  • Water pump

With the exception of the air conditioning compressor, the failure of a belt that drives any one of these components means you’re going to be grounded.

In some late model cars, a single serpentine belt replaces the usual multiple belts at the front of the engine. Obviously should that style of belt fail, everything driven by it ceases to function…at the same time.

The hoses that convey your car’s fluids are generally made of two rubber layers with a layer of fabric in between. Typical hoses include:

  • Radiator and heater hoses (these convey coolant to the engine and heater core and are vital to engine operation). Lose these and your engine loses its cool.

  • Fuel hose (as the name implies, this hose transports gasoline from the tank to the engine).

  • Power steering hose (connects the power steering pump to the steering gear).

  • Air conditioning hoses (conducts refrigerant to/from A/C components).

As with belts, the above hoses play a vital role in your car’s operation. Whether they’re transporting gasoline or engine coolant, a leaky hose spells trouble.
Well, if you’ve come this far in our little treatise on belts and hoses you’ve probably reached the conclusion that for the safe and continuous operation of your vehicle, belts and hoses need to be inspected regularly to insure their integrity…and your continued mobility.

And you’re right…at Dallas Auto Sports, we recommend changing all belts every four years, regardless of appearance. If belt inspections reveal more than three cracks per inch on the grooved underside of the belt, more than 80 percent of its service life is gone and replacement is recommended.

So too with hoses…our recommendation is four years. This is based on four years of field coolant tests on fleet vehicles by Gates Corporation – a prominent manufacturer of automotive belts. They identified the primary cause of coolant failure as an electrochemical attack on the tube compound inside the hose. This phenomenon is known as ElectroChemical Degradation (ECD). A replacement interval of four years for all coolant carrying hoses, especially the upper radiator, by-pass and heater hoses can help prevent unexpected failure from ECD. By the way, the incidence of hose failure increases sharply after 4 years.

A convenient way to remember to check belts and hoses is to have it done at the start of each air conditioner season. When weather necessitates A/C you can bet under-hood temperatures are headed in a northerly direction. This can make short work of marginal belts and hoses.

To schedule an inspection of all of your rubber components, including tires, call Dallas Auto Sports at 214.320.2228.

Auto service and repair for: Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Lexus, Jaguar, Porsche, VW, Volvo, Saab, and more. Servicing cars from the Dallas, Plano, Richardson and the DFW Metroplex area.