Land Rovers have established themselves as the premier hard-working 4×4 vehicle suited to both off-road and on-road use. It is not surprising that these vehicles, given the right care, can have a long life-span. Some Land Rovers even span decades of use. However, without the correct care and maintenance standards, even the toughest of cars can begin to fail and show their age. While some faults will naturally occur with time, without maintenance, these issues are likely to occur at a much faster rate.
In this article, we will explore one of the key issues your Land Rover might face as it ages: The wear and failure of the serpentine belt.
What is the serpentine belt and where is it found?
The serpentine belt is found under the hood of your Land Rover and can also be referred to as the drive belt or the fan belt. This belt is long and flat with multiple grooves and is driven by the engine’s crankshaft. In all modern cars, the serpentine belt is able to drive all of the vehicle’s accessories, with older cars tending to have two belts: one for the engine and one for the vehicle’s accessories.
The rotation of the serpentine belt powers the alternator, air conditioning compressor, power steering pump, water pump, and air pump. When the serpentine belt fails, power will not be correctly supplied to these essential parts, which can cause a chain reaction of problems and a worst case scenario of severe engine damage or even complete engine failure.
Signs and Symptoms of a Worn Out Belt
Your vehicle will display several signs and symptoms if the serpentine belt is becoming worn out such as:
1. Battery Light
If the serpentine belt isn’t rotating, then your vehicle alternator will not be driven either. This will mean your Land Rover’s battery is unable to charge correctly. The battery warning light will illuminate in response.
2. Squealing Noise
A squealing noise from under the hood is indicative of drive belt failure, usually because the belt has become loose or misaligned. This will cause rotation to become awkward or strained, resulting in squealing noises.
3. Overheating Engine
If your serpentine belt ceases to operate, the water pump will be unable to operate too. If this is the case, the first thing you’ll notice is high engine temperatures and your car may overheat rapidly.
If you suspect your serpentine belt may be worn out, you can often discern the cause of the rapid decline by noting the wear patterns upon the belts surface, giving you a chance to repair the issue and prevent further damage. Use the helpful table below to diagnose your belt wear.
|Cracking across the ribs||Exposure to high temperatures||Replace the belt|
|Chunks from the belt||Heat, age, stress||Replace the belt|
|Pilling||Misalignment, worn pulleys, lack of tension||Check pulleys and tensioners, if the problem continues, replace belt|
|Abrasion||Contact with a foreign object||Check belt tension, replace belt if needed|
|Rib separation||Incorrect belt position||Replace belt, and ensure new belt is positioned correctly|
|Uneven rib wear||Contact with a foreign object||Replace belt, install engine protection shield|
|Gravel Penetration||Vehicle without engine protection shield||Replace belt, install engine protection shield|
|Damaged outer ribs||Pulley Misalignment||Replace belt and realign pulleys|
|Oil contamination||Oil/grease leak||Clean belt if possible, prevent further oil contamination, replace the belt if needed|
|Broken belt||Contact with large foreign object, old belt, severe shock loads, blocked pulley||Replace belt and perform diagnostics to discover the root cause|
Seek Replacement at Autobahn Automotive
A belt that is worn is at an increased risk of snapping. When this happens, pieces of the belt can disperse throughout your Land Rover’s vital systems, potentially causing catastrophic damage. Therefore, it is essential you seek professional repairs as soon as possible.
If you live in or around San Antonio or Longhorn, TX, you should make Autobahn Automotive your first stop. With friendly, qualified technicians and great customer service, we will be sure to replace your serpentine belt lightening fast with your safety and proper car maintenance as our top priority.