A belt or hose failure can cause an overheated engine, loss of power steering, and loss of the electrical charging system. If a hose leaks coolant or the belt turning the water pump snaps, the cooling system is inoperable. If the engine overheats, it can suffer serious internal damage that requires expensive repairs and can ruin a summer vacation.
Overheating can occur anytime. Underwood temperatures are much higher, and heat can trigger or accelerate deterioration of rubber compounds.
Belts and hoses often go unnoticed, but they’re vitally important to the operation of your car. If they stop working, your engine stops working. The problem is, there’s no real clear cut warning signs to alert you to when something goes wrong. Be sure to visually check your belts and hoses, and bring your vehicle to Daks Toyota Service Center. Our certified, professional service staff can spot what’s wrong, fix it, and get you back safely on the road.
Your vehicle’s engine needs several hoses to run correctly.
Top Radiator Hose – distributes engine coolant to radiator; for reducing temperature of coolant
Bottom Radiator Hose – after fluid cools, returns it to water pump and distributes it through engine
Bypass Hose – distributes cold fluid from water pump; allows fluid to bypass thermostat; helps engine warm up faster and regulates engine temperature
Heater Hose – keeps hot coolant running to/from passenger compartment heating system
Be sure to watch for hoses that might be broken or cracked, lack flexibility, swollen, bulged, or are leaking fluids. These are significant warning signs.
V-Belts (or serpentine belts) control your vehicle’s accessories. They wind around the engine and power many important parts, like alternators, water pumps, cooling fans, power steering. It’s important to make sure these are in tact – if any of these break, you could be looking at significant repairs.
Basic Inspection and Maintenance Tips
Look for cracks, fraying, or splits on the top cover.
Look for signs of glazing on the belt’s sides. Glazed or slick belts can slip, overheat or crack.
Twist a serpentine belt to look for separating layers, cracks, or missing chunks of the grooves on the underside.
Check the white coolant-recovery tank often to ensure proper fluid level. Marks on the tank indicate the proper level for when the engine is cold or hot. If the tank is low after repeated fillings, suspect a leak. Also check for white, light green, or pink coolant tracks in the engine bay, which is residue left from leaking coolant.
When the engine is cool, squeeze the hoses with your thumb and forefinger near the clamps, where Electro Chemical Degradation (ECD) most often occurs. Feel for soft or mushy spots. A good hose will have a firm yet pliant feel.
Inspect for cracks, nicks, bulges usually while hot), or a collapsed section in the hose and oil contamination, or fraying near the connection points.
Look for parallel cracks around bends (caused by ozone), a hardened glassy surface (heat damage), or abrasive damage (hose is rubbing).
Flush and replace the coolant according to the owner’s manual. Clean coolant is less likely to support ECD.
Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot. Also, be aware that an electric cooling fan can come on at any time.