I have encountered many car owners here in Uganda who have no a single clue about how to maintain their vehicles. It’s very important you as a car owner to learn how to cross examine some of the parts of your car so that it can serve you well. Sometimes our car mechanics miss out on these very important issues which makes it important to have these tips on your finger tips.
So, in this guide, we are going to look at how you can take good care of your car by making sure that your car’s belts and hoses are in good shape, not broken and fit to operate.
A hose is a flexible hollow tube designed to carry fluids from one location to another. Hoses are also sometimes called pipes (the word pipe usually refers to a rigid tube, whereas a hose is usually a flexible one. This is important for you to note), or more generally tubing. The shape of a hose is usually cylindrical (having a circular cross section).
These are sometimes called serpentine belts. A serpentine belt or drive belt is a single, continuous belt used to drive multiple peripheral devices in an automotive engine, such as an alternator, power steering pump, water pump, air conditioning compressor, air pump, etc.
If you are very keen, you must have seen one or two of them in the bonnet when the hood is open as most of them are situated near the top and clearly visible.
A belt or hose pipe failure can cause an overheated engine, loss of power steering, and loss of the electrical charging system. If a hose leaks coolant or the belt turning the water pump snaps, the cooling system is inoperable. If the engine overheats, it can suffer serious internal damage that requires expensive repairs and can ruin a summer vacation.
Overheating can occur anytime, but very common in dry seasons. Under hood temperatures are much higher, and heat can trigger or accelerate deterioration of rubber compounds.
Hoses are the cooling system's weakest structural component. They are made of flexible rubber compounds to absorb vibrations between the engine and radiator, or, in the case of heater hoses, the engine and body's firewall. Designed to hold coolant under pressure, hoses are also subjected to fluctuating extremes of heat and cold, dirt, oils, and sludge. Atmospheric ozone also attacks rubber compounds.
The most damaging cause of hose failure - Electrochemical Degradation (ECD) isn't easy to detect. According to specialized auto engineers, ECD attacks hoses from the inside, causing tiny cracks. Acids and contaminants in the coolant can then weaken the yarn material that reinforces the hose. Eventually, pinholes can develop or the weakened hose may rupture from heat, pressure, or constant flexing.
Some easy, basic maintenance can help prevent coolant hose pipe failure:
The upper radiator hose fails more often than any other hose, followed by the water pump bypass hose (if your vehicle is so equipped), and the outlet heater hose from the engine to the heater core.
Experts recommend, however, that all hoses be replaced at least every four years or when one fails. Always use replacement hoses designed to fight ECD. Trademarks will vary among hose manufacturers.
Most vehicles built after 1993 come with ECD-resistant hose pipes. But in case you are not sure, you can always get in touch with us for help.
Many of the same elements that attack hoses also attack belts—heat, oil, ozone, and abrasion. Almost all cars and trucks built today have a single multi-grooved serpentine belt that drives the alternator, water pump, power-steering pump, and air-conditioning compressor.
Older vehicles may have separate V-belts that drive the accessories. The Car Care experts state that chances of a V-belt failure rise dramatically after four years or 36,000 miles, while the critical point for a serpentine belt is 50,000 miles.
Any belt should be changed when it shows signs of excessive wear. But many new composite belts don't show signs of wear until the failure occurs.
Here are tips for inspecting belts:
Replacement belts should be identical in length, width, and number of grooves to the factory belt. Serpentine belts are usually kept tight with an automatic tensioner.
Signs of a belt-tension problem include a high-pitched whine or chirping sound and vibration noises. Without proper tension, belts will slip and generate heat or fail to turn the accessories.
If in doubt, check with a qualified technician about any cooling problems, and always consult your owner's manual for routine maintenance procedures.
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