Car Engine Belts: The Roles of Each Belt Under the Hood

Cars have various types belts. No, we’re not talking about seatbelts. We’re talking about the belts connected to the engine. We’ll explain the role of each car engine belt, where its located, its function, and when to replace it.

Serpentine Belt

Unless you drive a pre-1990 vehicle, your car has a serpentine belt. This connects the crank pulley, idler pulley, and tensioner. If this belt snaps, expect multiple components, such as the power steering and alternator, to fail. You may also hear a squealing noise from the engine if the belt is compromised. The serpentine belt requires replacement every 60,000 to 90,000 miles. Inspect regularly for worn or shallow grooves.

Timing Belt

The timing belt connects the upper and lower engine. This belt is also referred to as the camshaft belt because it regulates the camshaft, which facilitates the opening and closing of the valves. Its replacement interval is similar to serpentine belt’s, about every 60,000 to 90,000 miles. If the timing belt is worn or comes off, you may hear a tickling noise from the engine or experience misfires.

Some timing belts come in the form of chains, which can last for the lifetime of the car.


Some people consider the hoses a belt. Hoses provide a connection for the transfer of coolant between the radiator, engine, and heating block. A puncture in the hose can lead to engine overheating. The hood may also blow smoke or the check engine light may come on. We recommend inspecting the hoses and accompanying clamps at least twice a year. Expect to replace a coolant hose every four to five years.

We Inspect all Belts and Hoses

The belts under the hood are part of an intricate system. The belts keep the individual components working synergistically. Bring your car to Chuck’s Auto Repair for a routine maintenance that includes a checkup of the various car engine belts and hoses.

Car Belt and Hose Inspection

Serving Motorists in the greater Seattle area

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