Can You Drive When Serpentine Belt Goes Bad?

­Do you understand your car? Do you know how different parts function and how they act when broken? And, how often do you have your car checked?

These are some of the questions that all car owners ought to answer. There are parts that may hinder your car from functioning; especially the serpentine belt.

Now, how well are you familiar with the functions of this belt?

The serpentine belt, also known as the Multi-vee, poly-v, or multi-rib belt is used in the driving of multiple peripheral devices in the engine.

Some of the tools include water pumps, power pump, and alternator. The questions we need to answer here is what causes a serpentine belt to break. Plus, what happens when a serpentine belt goes bad.

Let us look in details what happens if your serpentine belt somehow broke while driving.

What Causes A Serpentine Belt To Break?

Several factors that can limit a car's functionality. However, the serpentine belt break is mainly caused by three major issues.

It can either be caused by a defective belt tensioner. This makes the belt lose, hence does not have the right tension to work correctly.

The second issue is the improper alignment of the pulleys. With inappropriate pulleys adjustment, the belt may be folded. This means that it will not roll as smoothly as it ought to.

Again, the pulleys may be too rigid to rotate, hence making the belt fail to function.

Lastly, defective bearings in the tensioner, idler, or one of the accessories driven by the belt. This may bring issues like noises and make the accessories not function as expected. At times, they wear out faster than the duration it is required.

There are several noises or sounds that will tell what the cause of your belt to break is. Some of the familiar noises include:

  • Squealing sound means the belt is slipping.
  • Chirping sound is a sign of misalignment of an accessory drive pulley.
  • Grinding sound tell that there is a damaged bearing in a driven accessory.
  • Belt coming off can either be as a result of pulley misalignment, belt misalignment on a pulley, defective tensioner, or bearing wear in the tensioner, idler or driven accessories.
  • Rhythmic noises occurring at engine speed are caused by a delaminating belt backing, chunking of belt ridges, or foreign object embedded in belt groove.
  • Excessive cracking if not severe old age, then it is a sign of defective tensioner.

Ensure that you are familiar with any of this sounds so you may identify the malfunction easily. What then happens when the serpentine belt broke while driving?

What Happens When A Serpentine Belt Goes Bad?

Before we get to know what happens here, there is a need to know the signs of a wrong belt. The most typical symptom of a bad or failing drive belt tensioner is noise from the belts or tensioner.

When the tensioner is loose, the belts may squeak or squeal, especially when the engine is first started. Other than this, grinding or squeaking noise from the belts or tensioner are some of the other signs.

When the multi-vee belt goes wrong, it slips out of position. It, hence, in the long run, end up wearing out everything.

From the power steering pump to the alternator and air conditioner, all stops functioning.

Consequently, the parts of the belt controls can end up damaged in that you may also need to replace them too.

The noises made by the belt can be diagnosed by a simple spray bottle of water. Lightly mist the grooved sides, if the belt while the engine is running. If the noise disappears and later comes back, then that may be caused by a misaligned pulley.

However, if the noise increases immediately after the water spray, the belt is likely to be slipping.

Having broken belts or horses may be bad. However, imagine having a broken engine. Act fast the moment you note that there is an issue with the belt.

Let your mechanic know if you immediately detect or hear any of the noises.

Otherwise, if you ignore and continue driving with the faults, then you are likely to spend more on not just the belt but the whole part that the belt operate.

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