A Quick Reminder about Your Serpentine Belt

So, your serpentine belt. Do you know what it is? If so, odds are this post won't be of much use to you. But for the remaining 80 percent of readers, this post will explain what the serpentine belt is, and why it deserves your attention.

You may have heard a mechanic at some point or another suggest you replace your serpentine belt, and you may have blown off that advice, because a serpentine belt doesn't even sound like a real thing. Why is it named after a snake?

Alas, it is an extremely important part, without which your car will not do most of the things you want it to do.

It Runs Everything

In the old days, cars had a few different belts. One that ran the water pump, one that ran the fan, one that ran the alternator, the power steering pump, etc. So if, say, the power steering belt went out, you'd lose that luxury, but everything else would work as normal. The trouble with this design is that it was cumbersome, inefficient, and required exponentially more belts to be manufactured. Replacing it was the serpentine design, which replaced all those smaller belts with one large belt that runs all those different components. It does this by "snaking" its way through the front of your engine, thus the "serpent" reference in its name.

What if it Snaps?

If your serpentine belt snaps, your engine will continue running, but you'll lose your power steering pump, your alternator, your water pump, your air conditioner -- all of those auxiliary devices that aren't involved in the combustion process of the engine, but are involved in the basic driving experience. You'll still be able to drive your car for a while, but it's going to be hot and really difficult to steer.

So How Do I Know When to Change It?

By looking at it. It's right there on the front of the engine. It's the only belt under your hood. If you look on the underside of it, and it's cracked, then it's time to change it.

But don't worry. It's not an expensive repair, and it doesn't take very long. Bring it in to the experts at Honda of Clear Lake, and let us take care of it for you. We'll have you back on the road in no time.