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Tech Tip: Check belts, hoses to prepare vehicles for winter season

Dec. 15, 2015
Continental recommends that belts and hoses under the hood of your car care be checked regularly – especially before winter.

The long hot summer may be over for a great deal of the country, and winter may have been delayed, but that doesn’t mean overheating problems for your car care are, too. “Heat caused by a faulty fan belt or a busted radiator hose can give motorists problems in the winter, too,” says Tom Lee, Continental’s marketing manager for its North American aftermarket business.  Lee and Continental recommend that belts and hoses under the hood of your car care be checked regularly – especially before winter.

While summer temperatures hasten the heat buildup and shorten the life of rubber products, winter’s severe cold temperatures can be equally devastating to belt and hose life.  “In the winter, the extreme change from hot to cold makes belt and hose products more susceptible to cracking and breaking,” Lee says.  “Almost nine out of 10 radiator hose and fan belt failures create an emergency situation.”

Poly V belts deliver power from an automobile’s engine to the alternator, fan, various pumps and other equipment. A belt that’s not working properly can cause battery discharge and eventual failure. Hoses, while transporting hot, pressurized coolant to and from the radiator, also serve as a shock absorber between the engine and hose connections, protecting them from damage and a resulting leak.

Continental offers these tips for checking belts and hose before winter:

Turning a belt over with your fingers to expose the underside, look for:

  • Glazed sidewalls from oil or aging
  • Cracks caused by high temperatures, flexing and age
  • Uneven wear and exposed edge cords caused by pulley misalignment or wobble

Hoses should be checked for the following conditions:

  • Cracking – usually caused by heat, aging and weathering
  • Bulging or swelling – usually caused by excessive heat or exposure to oil or grease
  • Sponginess from exposure to oil or grease
  • Burst – the result of excessive heat or aging

All of these conditions call for immediate belt or hose replacement.

“Belt and hose products today are more durable, but the operating temperatures under the hood of a car are also higher, creating a condition that is more severe than ever before,” Lee says.

Information provided by: ContiTech

About the Author

Tom Lee | Marketing Manager, Continental

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