The hard part is convincing customers to change belts and hoses as a preventative maintenance BEFORE they fail. Few people do, but they could save themselves a lot of unnecessary grief and expense if it was done. Here are some good reasons why:
- Rubber hoses deteriorate with age
- Tiny cracks develop in the rubber which eventually causes hoses to split, blister or leak
- Oil contamination can accelerate the process
- Engine vibration and motion can cause hoses to wear if they are too short or rub against other parts
A visual inspection is always good but that does not always detect a bad hose. You can pinch hoses to check for aged cracks, brittleness, or mushiness, but hoses wear as much from the inside out as they do from the outside in.
Often the first sign many will notice of a worn belt is a squealing, but there are subtler signs leading up to that, which you’ll only find during routine inspections. With belts, heat and mileage are the main causes of wear. Every time a belt passes around a pulley it bends and flexes and this produces heat which hardens the rubber over time. The wear process is great if the belt is loose and slips. The additional friction between belt and pulley will make a belt run even hotter. The rubber begins to crack and fray, and the internal cords become weakened and brittle. Eventually the belts break and at that point all cooling is lost along with other functions that were powered by the belt.
Everybody wants a reliable vehicle to drive, but not many of us like to think out of the box enough to practice preventive maintenance beyond the bare basics. A little money spent now on maintenance can save you hundreds later.