Recently a customer came into the shop with the complaint that their AC went out a few days ago and now the battery light is on. He thought that the timing was suspect, but that it was a coincidence. Afterall, batteries tend not to last all that long in Florida anyway. However, after checking his car, we realized it wasn’t a coincidence at all. It was a case of neglected maintenance of a serpentine belt replacement leading to an expensive repair job.
What We Found
Our ASE certified mechanic quickly determined that the reason the battery light came on was because the serpentine belt broke. The serpentine belt transports power throughout the engine cavity to things like the water pump, power steering pump, AC compressor and alternator. The car’s air conditioning can’t work when the compressor doesn’t turn. The battery can’t charge when the alternator isn’t working. He also later confirmed that the car had become harder to steer as the power steer was also impacted. However, unfortunately for this driver, the belt did more damage when it broke. One of the lines heading to the car’s AC was broken leading to a leak in his refrigerant.
Serpentine Belt Maintenance
Although some parts of your car can go a lifetime without needing to be replaced, your belts aren’t one of those parts. Most serpentine belt replacement needs to happen around 75,000 miles. However, depending on your manufacturer’s recommendations, it may be as soon as 60,000 miles or a long as 100,000 miles. You can check for signs of wear like cracking or fraying. If you notice a squealing sound from your engine, chances are the belt is slipping and should be replaced.
Repair Vs. Maintenance
Had this customer scheduled a serpentine belt replacement as recommended (he was about 15,000 miles over), he would have had a maintenance bill of no more than $200. Instead, once we replaced the belt, performed the AC repair and recharged his refrigerant, his bill was over $800. Plus, he was out of a car for just over a day as we had to wait for the part for his air conditioner repair. A serpentine belt can be replaced in less than an hour.
Oldsmar Automotive Offers Vehicle Repair & Maintenance
Whether you need vehicle maintenance or repair, or a little of both, call (727) 784-3501 to schedule your appointment. You can also come by 3166 Tampa Road in Oldsmar. We’ll provide you with a quote for your maintenance or repair. We’re ASE certified and work on all vehicle makes and models.