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Drive Belts
Seen and Unseen

Beneath the hood of your vehicle (or the trunk/boot, if you own a VW), there’s a lot going on when the engine is running. A lot of surfaces get very hot, very fast under there. Some of the elements travel at breakneck speeds—electronic signals, fans, fluids, and belts among them.

It’s the belts that keep nearly everything running as well as they’re supposed to. Failure to inspect and replace belts when recommended can result in your vehicle stranding you during critical moments. And although just getting stranded is bad enough, when some of these butt-kicking belts break, you’re looking at losing more than a few hours—you’re looking at some major repair bills.

Broken timing belts (which lie unseen inside engines) can sabotage your engine faster than you can think to turn off the ignition, causing thousands of dollars of damage in a heartbeat. Consult your owner’s manual to find the recommended replacement mileage for your make and model. Timing belt replacement should happen somewhere between every 60,000 to every 105,000 miles. Don’t presume to know what your mileage number is until you look it up in your manual or call G&J’s Auto Repair. We will be happy to look up your interval and even give you a quote!

Then there are drive belts, which you can inspect at your leisure by lifting the hood (or trunk/boot, you VW’ers). When drive belts start to go south, you can actually see and hear them, but it’s best to start keeping an eye on visible drive belts before they get that far gone. Here are the telltale signs of a drive belt on its last legs:

Look for wear and tear regularly: cracks or chips, missing teeth or ribbing. If you spot any of these issues, replace your drive belt immediately or have a professional mechanic install one for you. Other visual damage includes spots of oil or coolant. If you notice any of these telltale signs on your belt, it’s time for a change. Your drive belt should always look clean and robust.

Starting becomes problematic: as you know, a lot of things can cause your vehicle to struggle when starting but your drive belt is among the top contenders when you can no longer rely on a quick start.

A high-pitched sound: shrieking or whirring, especially during start up, is a dead giveaway. You may also hear something amiss when idling. To investigate, open the hood while your car is running to see if you can determine where the sound is coming from. (Engine parts can be hot. Be careful!)

Call today if you think any of your vehicle belts (seen or unseen) are becoming problematic—remember, they share a lot of responsibility for making sure you get where you’re going. (541) 752-3445

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