Things to Know About Automotive Belt & Hose Replacement - information from the the pros at Shingle Springs Subaru serving Sacramento, CA

Everybody has driven that car, or knows a loved one who has: The old beater known for performing reliably, but with a pesky habit of eating accessory belts. What do these belts do, anyway? And what happens to your car when they fail? Find out below from the team at Shingle Springs Subaru. We'll tell you what you need to know about the soft items, like belts and hoses, under the hood of your car.

Serpentine Belt Image

4. Serpentine Accessory Belt

The engine spins the driveshaft to deliver power to the wheels, but power also needs to get to other accessories, like the A/C system, the alternator and the coolant pump. Under the hood of your car, the engine also turns a belt which is attached to pulleys that provide power to all these accessories. This belt spins very fast, and that means it gets very hot! This can degrade the rubberized compound over time. And if other nearby components are leaking, this can glaze the belt in fluid or lubricant, causing the belt to slip. A slipping belt may need to be replaced. If the serpentine belt fails, you could lose the alternator, power steering pump, air conditioning and more.

According to the owner's manual for a 2018 Subaru Outback, you should have the serpentine belt inspected every 30,000 miles. If the serpentine belt shows any signs of wear, it can be easily replaced by one of our technicians.

Timing Belt Image

3. Engine Timing Belt

The engine timing belt keeps all your engine's moving parts synchronized. The crankshaft and pistons in the engine block must move in perfect timing with the valvetrain in the cylinder head. To physically link their movements, they're often joined by a timing belt. It's one of the most critical parts of your car's engine, and it's likely to wear out around 100,000 miles of service. If this belt fails, the engine will stop running, and could suffer catastrophic damage in certain vehicles!

According to the owner's manual for the 2018 Subaru WRX STI, you should have the belt replaced every 96,000 miles. On most other modern Subaru models, the timing belt system is replaced by a lubricated timing chain that is built to last the entire life of the vehicle.

2. Coolant Hoses

Today's modern car engines are liquid cooled. A special coolant fluid flows through the engine, absorbing heat, before it gets pumped out to the radiator, which cools the liquid back down as air flows over it.

Just like the serpentine belt, the 2018 Subaru Outback owner's manual recommends having a trained technician inspect your coolant hoses every 30,000 miles. The coolant inside is good for up to 11 years/137,500 miles!

A/C Recharging Service Image

1. A/C Hoses

The A/C system works by pumping a special liquid through the system called refrigerant. It actually changes from a liquid to a gas and back again as it flows throughout the system, drawing hot air out of the cabin and pushing cool air through the climate vents. Unlike the rest of the fluids on your car, an A/C system leaks gas, not water. So you won't find a puddle forming beneath your vehicle if the A/C system is leaking. If you do see a bit of water under your vehicle on a hot day, it may well just be water from condensation. That's normal.

Because every car's A/C system is different, the owner's manual can't recommend a mileage interval for recharging service. Some cars won't ever need to be recharged. Some may need to be recharged very occasionally, and leak only a nominal amount of refrigerant. Others may suffer damage to the A/C system hoses or fittings, and need parts replaced to stop a severe leak.