Learn about the impact of summer heat on vehicle belts with Dayco and Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
Summertime means lots of road trips, weekend getaways, family reunions and trips up north – which in turn means putting your car and its air conditioning to work. Hot summer temperatures can take a toll on your vehicle, especially the vehicle’s belts and hoses. They’re both critical pieces that help cool your vehicle and they eventually do wear out. While it doesn’t seem like a big deal, worn out belts and hoses can break, leading to an overheated radiator and an inoperable car. Learn more about the impact of summer heat on vehicle belts and hoses with Dayco and Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
How EPDM Can Help Belt Life
High temps are tough on both belts and hoses, as well as everything else under the hood. That’s why Dayco engineers their belts on Las Vegas cab fleets in order to completely understand the impact of high temperatures. It’s tough on the radiator hose’s inner tube, reinforcement and cover, but the materials in the coolant hose and belts are made for those harsh environments. While belts were previously made with neoprene and nitrile – which aged more rapidly in the heat – Dayco uses Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM).
While EPDM sacrifices some wear life, there’s an overall life improvement due to the reduction in cracking and “chunk-out,” that was seen on neoprene belts of the past. It’s important to check the rib wear on serpentine belts as wear is usually the failure mode on modern belts. Dayco has made a belt wear gauge, which assists in the checking of worn belts. The gauge is designed to check rib wear by using three wear indicators: the rib profile indicator, the rib wear indicator bar and the rib crack window.
Perform Regular Maintenance in the Summer
It’s important to always perform maintenance checks on your vehicle, but it’s especially important in the summer. There are a few ways you can get the most life out of your belts:
- Inspect all belts for wear and cracking
- Make sure all idler pulleys are in proper functional order, which means the bearings are not worn and the pulley surface is clean and also not worn
- If your vehicle has one, check the belt tensioner to make sure it’s also functioning properly and providing the right amount of tension
- If the vehicle has fixed drive, make sure it’s properly tensioner to avoid belt slip and wear
For hoses, always check the appearance and condition of the hose by squeezing the hose near attachment points to look for soft spots where reinforcement may start to break down. Only do this, though, when the hose is comfortable to touch. Also check the coolant condition. Make sure the coolant is changed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, as this can have some impact on the hose, but even more so on the water pump durability and overall cooling capability of the engine.
Take the time to inspect your hoses and belts this summer. Research has found that nearly 20 percent of the vehicles on the road today have a worn belt that needs to be replaced, and nearly 15 percent of vehicles have a hose that needs to be replaced. If your vehicle has over 85,000 miles, then the probability for belt wear is even higher. Eighty percent of belt failures occur when vehicles have over 85,000 miles, and 100 percent of belt and hose failures happen at inconvenient times! You’d hate to lose a belt or hose while making the annual trek to your family’s vacation spot when the temperatures are at their peak. Remember, ignoring maintenance has its price and that price can be costly.
This article has been adapted from Dayco. Get your car summer ready with Dayco belts and hoses at Blain’s Farm & Fleet. For more tips on caring for your vehicle in all kinds of weather, visit our Automotive blog.