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How Often Should I Replace My Accessory Drive Belt?

Most vehicles have a rubber belt on the front of the engine that drives accessories such as the air-conditioning compressor, power steering pump and alternator. If this accessory drive belt (also called a V-belts or serpentine belts) breaks, the battery won’t get charged, the air conditioner won’t blow cold air and the power steering will go out. In addition, if the belt drives the water pump, the engine could overheat.

Most manufacturers call for periodic inspection of the belt as part of scheduled maintenance, but few list a specific replacement interval, and inspection intervals vary widely.

Mercedes-Benz, for example, says to inspect the belt every two years or 20,000 miles, while Volkswagen says to check it every 40,000 miles. On most Ford vehicles, the manufacturer says to start inspecting it after 100,000 miles and then every 10,000 miles. On many GM vehicles, the first recommended inspection is at 150,000 miles or 10 years.

Though these belts often last many years, they can become cracked or frayed and need to be replaced. These common signs of wear are why they should be inspected at least annually on vehicles that are more than a few years old. In addition, if a belt needs to be replaced, the pulleys and tensioners that guide the belt should be inspected to determine if they caused damage other than normal wear.

A belt that isn’t cracked or frayed may look like it’s in good shape, but grooves on the hidden side may be worn enough that the belt slips on the pulleys that drive the accessories. That will cause problems in systems that rely on the belt to keep things humming. For example, a slipping drive belt may cause the alternator to work intermittently or at reduced power, and the battery won’t get fully recharged as a result, perhaps triggering a warning light.

Another sign of a worn belt is a squealing noise under acceleration. That could indicate that the belt is slipping because of wear, a belt tensioner is loose or a pulley is out of alignment.

Most modern vehicles use belts made from ethylene propylene diene monomer, a synthetic rubber that lasts longer than older types of engine belts. Most belt manufacturers estimate the typical lifespan of an EPDM belt to be 50,000 to 60,000 miles, and some say it’s more than 100,000 miles. However, it can be hard to tell how worn one is with just a visual check because EPDM belts are less likely to crack or lose chunks of rubber than other types. They should be inspected by a professional.

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Reno Tahoe Auto Group
3355 Kietzke Ln.
Reno, NV 89502
775-329-0303
Reno Tahoe Auto Group

How to Properly Check and Fill Tires

While it may seem like a mundane task, inflating tires is much more crucial to your car than you may think, and it results in a safer and more economical experience on the road. Proper tire inflation can significantly improve the fuel economy of your vehicle. Your vehicle’s handling also will be greatly improved as the larger a tire’s inflated footprint, the more responsive and comfier the ride balance will be.

To find your tires’ proper inflation level, look for a sticker on the driver-side doorjamb. It displays the vehicle weight restriction and tire information including the recommended tire pressure. The info is also found in the maintenance or car-care section of your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Don’t refer to the sidewall markings on your tires, which in part specify the maximum tire pressure — not the recommended pressure for your car.

Unless your tire is visibly flat, don’t judge tire inflation just by looking at it; you have to use a tire pressure gauge to get the correct pounds per square inch (PSI) reading. There are three types of tire-pressure gauges: digital, internal slide and dial. Prices range from $5 for a basic gauge to more than $30 for one that is digital, has an air-release button — or even talks. All will do the job, but you may want to consider the conditions in which you’ll be using your gauge. “We’ve found that low-cost digital pressure gauges are very accurate and maintain the accuracy longer, but in extremely cold temperatures the gauge may not show up properly,” said John Rastetter, Tire Rack’s director of tire information services.

Tire manufacturers suggest checking tires when they’re cold for the most accurate reading. Outside temperatures can cause tire pressure to vary by as much as 1 psi per 10 degrees; higher temperatures mean higher psi readings. “Tires are black; what does black do? Attract heat,” Rastetter said, noting the importance of finding a shady place to check and fill all four tires.

Temperature plays a huge part in tire psi, Rastetter said, adding that the most crucial time of year to check pressure is in fall and winter when days are shorter and average temperatures plummet.

Check your tires in the morning before going anywhere, because as soon as you get behind the wheel for an extended amount of time, psi will rise. Rastetter said that if you’ve been on the road a long time and notice higher psi in your tires, don’t let the air out, as the increase in pressure has built up due to the warm, constantly-in-motion tires.

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Reno Tahoe Auto Group
3355 Kietzke Ln.
Reno, NV 89502
775-329-0303
Reno Tahoe Auto Group

No Payments for 90 Days!

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Kick back in our newly renovated service lounge and enjoy complimentary Wifi, gourmet coffee and snacks and even HD TV. Our complimentary shuttle service runs every half hour and allows you to schedule pickups within 20 miles from our store. Better yet, if your service lasts longer than 2 hours, we’ll give you a complimentary loaner car for the day!

Reno Tahoe Auto Group
3355 Kietzke Ln.
Reno, NV 89502
775-329-0303
Reno Tahoe Auto Group

 

Our Onsite Car Service and Maintenance Department

We also provide more than selling or leasing a vehicle to you. All car owners can take advantage of our onsite car service and maintenance department. Our team is highly-trained, and use the latest technology, tools, equipment and Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, GMC parts when we work on your vehicle, to give you a standout experience, and a long lasting ride that is properly cared for.

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Reno Tahoe Auto Group
3355 Kietzke Ln.
Reno, NV 89502
775-329-0303
Reno Tahoe Auto Group

Our Quality Selection of Manufacturers

We provide you with many standout brands like Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, GMC models, while you can also find a quality selection of used cars, as well. No matter what, you’re going to find something that you want to drive off in. Along with that, we help you find a way to pay for your used ride with car loan and Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, GMC lease options, and work with you the entire time to find the best plan possible.

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Reno Tahoe Auto Group
3355 Kietzke Ln.
Reno, NV 89502
775-329-0303
Reno Tahoe Auto Group