For how long can a vehicle run without serpentine belt?

The serpentine belt drives accessories like water pump, alternator, AC compressor and power steering pump. When the belt cuts, these accessories stop functioning and the vehicle has a very limited time to run.

Serpentine belt is also called drive belt, accessory belt, fan belt, alternator belt or drive belt. It is responsible for transferring power from the engine through the crankshaft pulley to different accessories like alternator, water pump, power steering pump and AC compressor.

Some cars have a separate belt for power steering pump while water pump, power steering and AC compressor in some cars are electrically driven.

 

How serpentine belt drive other accessories

Accessories in the engine that were earlier mentioned are driven by the crankshaft pulley. The drive belt is routed from the crankshaft pulley through rollers to the pulleys of every other accessory. The way the belt is routed depends on the design by the engine's manufacturer.

 

Will a car move without drive belt?

Yes. The car is propelled by the engine through the transmission. The absence of drive belt won't stop a car from moving from its stationary position but it will affect the operation of the engine which will cause it not to operate for long.

What are the possible problems that can occur if the drive belt is missing?

 

1. Engine overheat

Since the water pump of some cars is driven by the serpentine belt, the engine will overheat if the belt is not there as coolant will not be able to circulate in the cooling system.

 

2. No power supply

The alternator would not be able to generate electrical power. The alternator is a machine that converts mechanical energy (rotation) to electrical energy. The alternator pulley is driven by the serpentine belt.

 

3. No power steering

For cars that the power steering pump is driven by the accessory belt, the steering becomes stiff if the belt is not there.

 

4. Air conditioning failure

If the AC compressor is a belt driven type, the AC won't function if the drive belt is missing.

 

Common causes of serpentine belt failure

1. Worn belt due to age

2. Stiff rollers or pulleys

3. Misaligned rollers or pulleys

4. Bad belt tensioner or wrong tension

5. Oil or grease reaching the belt

6. Low quality belt 

 

Will a car travel far without an accessory belt?

No. In as much as the car can move, it will soon overheat, the battery power will soon run out and it will be difficult to drive the car due to stiff steering.

 

What to do to prevent serpentine belt failure

1. Replace a worn out belt.

2. Use correct belt size.

3. Do not over tension or under tension the belt.

4. Avoid oil reaching the belt.

5. Use only original belt.

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