There are parts of the engine known to all but there are some, especially the belts, which, unless there has been an unpleasant episode or a very expensive replacement, they tend to underestimate. One of these is undoubtedly the transmission belt or V-belt for cars. it is a fundamental part of the car which, in the event of breakage, can create many problems.
Mostly, cars have one or two drive belts, in case there is only one belt, this is known as a serpentine belt. It is a component made of sturdy rubber, but it wears out over time like any other part of the car. It typically lasts more than 100,000km, but mechanics recommend replacing it sooner, as you won’t be able to move your vehicle even an inch with a broken belt. If you try to run an engine without a belt, the coolant will not circulate and the engine will overheat.
How the V-belt for cars works
How does it work? The V-belt acts as a drive belt. By connecting the pulleys of the V-belts, it transmits the force from the engine to the auxiliary components including the alternator, and the hydraulic pump for the power steering.
V-belts offer the best combination of traction, speed of movement, and long life. Its shape is generally trapezoidal, hence the name you have just heard or the equally common “V” belt. These belts transfer the power through a grip on the pulley and the belt tension thanks to the friction between the driving pulley and the driven pulley. Therefore, it is important to maintain the right amount of voltage for a vehicle to function properly.
By connecting the V-belt pulleys, it transmits the force from the engine to auxiliary components including:
• V-belt alternator
• hydraulic pump
• power steering
• air conditioning compressor
• water pump
In a combustion engine, the combustion of the air/fuel mixture drives the pistons. Through the connecting rods, the movement of these pistons in a straight line is converted into the rotation of the crankshaft. The V-belt uses the rotation force (torque) of the crankshaft and drives additional drives via V-belt pulleys. For this reason, it is responsible for the correct functioning of the engine but also for driving comfort levels.
For example, the V-belt is responsible for ensuring that the air conditioning compressor it drives regulates the temperature inside the vehicle to a pleasant level in the summer and prevents the windows from fogging in the winter. It also ensures that the power steering assists the driver when turning. The alternator drive ensures not only that the necessary electrical energy (e.g. for spark ignition or injection system) is supplied to the engine, but also that electrical loads such as heated rear window, lighting, heated seats, navigation system, and ABS and ESP are powered. The transmission-powered water pump ensures the circulation of coolant in the engine, thus avoiding the inconvenience that would be caused by failures due to engine overheating.
When the car’s V-belt needs to be replaced
Most of the time, you are likely to hear the chirping and squeaking when the need to replace the V-belt arises. If you notice something like this, go to the mechanic and have it examined. If you find cracks, damaged edges, or missing pieces, it’s time to replace the belt. Just to make you understand the importance of engine oil as well, you need to know that oil is one of the leading causes of a damaged belt, so it requires careful inspection. In addition, you may also hear the same sounds even if the belt is loose.
Most vehicles nowadays are equipped with a belt tensioner that automatically adjusts the belt, but some require manual adjustment. Nobody wants to get stuck in their car due to a torn V-belt because they can’t supply power to the engine or, even worse, the engine locks up due to overheating due to a faulty water pump.
- V-belts are non-positive drive components.
- Their operating principle is based on friction. Therefore, they are exposed to a wear process.
- For this reason, it is necessary to respect the maintenance and replacement intervals established by the vehicle manufacturers and, if necessary, to replace the V-belts, especially as the associated costs are generally reasonable.