Air Conditioner Suddenly Stops Working

You Hear a Loud Chirping Sound

Imagine driving up I-95 to visit friends in Georgia in August. Your vehicle has 98,000 miles registered on the odometer, and there’s not another vehicle in sight. It’s you and the open road. Suddenly, you hear a squeaking or chirping sound under the hood, the air conditioner stops working, and the check engine light illuminates on the dashboard. As you slow down, the power steering isn’t working, the temperature gauge registers hot, and a smell of burnt rubber fills the cabin. Do you know what it might be? Possibly the battery, or the alternator? How about a serpentine belt?

The serpentine belt is a long belt that provides power to important parts of your vehicle, like the alternator, power steering pump, air conditioner, and perhaps the water pump. A serpentine belt uses pulleys and a tensioner to move power from the crankshaft to multiple other components.

Most Cars Have This Device

Most modern cars have a self-tensioning device called a tensioner–or an automatic belt tensioner. This innovative device holds the correct tension on the serpentine belt to help the vehicle operate properly. The belt tensioner has an internal spring and pulley to apply force to keep the serpentine belt tight and keep it from slipping.

Visual Inspection

Doing a visual inspection before traveling is always a good idea. Check the tires, windows, oil, windshield wiper fluid, belts, and battery to find anything suspicious. If you find something fishy, immediately head to Sunshine Auto Center. Their ASE Master Certified technicians will inspect and evaluate the serpentine belt and make the appropriate recommendations so you don’t miss your friends.

When a serpentine belt begins to fail, you can notice wear and tear on this multi-purpose belt. Some signs of replacing a serpentine belt include cracks, splits, or fraying, glazing on the belt’s sides, and separating layers or missing chunks or grooves when you twist or turn the belt. Doing a visual inspection before you travel can help you spot possible serpentine belt damage before it leaves you stranded on I-95.

If you suspect your serpentine belt needs to be replaced, contact Sunshine Auto Center 484 S Dixie Highway W, Pompano Beach, FL 33060 or call us at 954-785-4848 for a serpentine belt inspection.