Oops! You have suddenly lost the power assist of your steering system while driving. Or might be, you are facing difficulty in turning the steering wheel. It usually happens when the serpentine belt of your car snaps.
The first question that immediately popped up in your mind is whether it is safe to drive a car without a serpentine belt or not. Well, if I would come to know the breaking of this belt while driving, I will instantly try to drive my car to the nearest mechanic to make things fixed.
But before diving deep into the details, you must have sufficient knowledge about the serpentine belt and its functionality.
What is a serpentine belt and what is its function?
A serpentine belt also known as an engine belt is made of rubber material. It is winded around your car’s essential peripheral devices including the alternator, air conditioning compressor, power steering pump, and water pump.
As the name indicates, it is twisted around these essential components.
It also allows circulating coolant through the cooling system. That means, with the breaking of the serpentine belt, your car’s engine gets overheated anywhere.
For efficient and smooth running and working of these parts, your car’s serpentine belt should be intact.
5 indications of a bad serpentine belt
You can yourself identify the problem if you will keep a regular check on the quality of your belt.
The poor quality belt can fall apart during the driving.
Look for these signs to know the condition of the serpentine belt:
- If your car’s air conditioner stops working properly, you must check for this belt
- The sudden squealing sound starts coming off
- Steering wheel starts requiring more arm strength
- Car engine gets overheated
- Visible cracks on the belt
If you have witnessed any of these symptoms, the right time has come to repair or replace it.
The Best Serpentine Belt
A serpentine belt is made of durable rubber material. It is necessary to buy the best quality belt for your vehicle as it is looped around major components of your car’s engine.
The best serpentine belt provides good flexibility as well as required tension to drive vital components smoothly and effortlessly.
In the market, you will have multiple variations of this belt. Always go for buying from a reputed manufacturer. Also, don’t forget to gauge its measurements required for your vehicle’s make and model.
Average time and cost involved in replacing a serpentine belt
For an auto mechanic, it will take just thirty minutes to replace or repair a serpentine belt. A good quality serpentine belt usually costs you up to 50-60 dollars.
It is highly recommended for you to do regular inspections to witness any wear and tear of this belt. Once you find a worn out and peeling serpentine belt, you must immediately try to replace it to avoid any discomfort during driving.
Is driving without a serpentine belt safe?
Driving without a serpentine belt is never safe under any circumstances. As I have mentioned earlier that serpent belt helps in delivering coolant to different parts of the engine.
Without it, the coolant flow stops working. Ultimately it causes to raise the temperature of the engine to a dangerous level.
In addition to this, this belt also drives the power steering pump. Your car’s hydraulic pressure starts malfunctioning when your power steering pump loses this belt. Eventually, you have to put extra arm strength to turn the steering wheel.
That’s why driving without a serpentine belt is not recommended as it is not safe for your vehicle or your life.
How far can you drive without a serpentine belt?
Your car may break off just right in between the highway and you discover that it is due to the breaking of the serpentine belt.
If you don’t have any nearest assistance to turn for, then you CAN drive your car without a serpentine belt. Just bear in mind that it is always risky to drive without a serpentine belt.
Most of the car manufacturers have engineered their vehicles to run for some time without this belt. Thus you can take a risk of driving your car a mile or two without this belt. But all in all, it is rather not a safe idea to drive without a serpentine belt. It will result in losing power steering and will not allow the alternator to charge the battery. Eventually, your car’s battery will be dead sooner or later.
If the serpentine belt drives the water pump of your car, it is not a good idea to drive without this belt. Because ultimately, your vehicle’s engine will overheat and will damage other engine parts leading to expensive repairing bills.
To avoid inconvenience and accidents, drive safely, and make sure that your car’s serpentine belt is functioning properly and efficiently.
Fortunately, the fixing of a snapped serpentine belt never costs you thousands of dollars. But it is always a big inconvenience and a frightening experience.
Yet it can turn into an expensive repairing bill as it drives other major components of your vehicle.
As soon as you discover the tearing of this belt, tow your car to the nearest auto mechanic workshop and get it fixed instantly.
Also, make sure that you keep on checking the serpentine belt from time to time. As it will help you to have uninterrupted driving experience.