How to Deal with an Accessory Drive Belt Failure in Your Land RoverPosted on: November 7, 2021
Land Rovers are known for their toughness, especially in being able to go off-road, something many other passenger vehicles are incapable of doing. However, despite their rugged construction, they are still subject to needing regular maintenance and care, and might even need it more often if you drive your Land Rover off-road often.
One particular component to keep in mind is the accessory drive belt, which is also sometimes called the serpentine belt. This belt drives various parts, including the air compressor for the air conditioning to work, the alternator that allows your car to continue running after you start it, the water pump which distributes coolant and ensures engine does not overheat, and the power steering pump which is what makes steering a relatively effortless event, as opposed to having to use a fair amount of force to turn the wheel.
Although you might be able to live with no air conditioning, the power steering pump, alternator, and water pump are necessary to drive your Land Rover. Without the alternator, your car will simply stop running after you start it. If the water pump is non-functional, your engine is at an increased risk of overheating, and overheating can cause severe damage. In other words, your Land Rover needs to have an accessory drive belt in good condition in order for the car to operate properly and safely.
Let’s go over some of the causes and symptoms of accessory drive belt failure and what should be done about it.
Land Rover Accessory Drive Belt Failure: Causes and Symptoms
Generally, poor driving conditions and natural wear and tear are the primary culprits behind an accessory drive belt failure. Driving conditions include not only the environment (off-road will put more strain on the belt than on-road, for example), but the way you drive. If you take many short trips in heavy traffic, your belt will wear out more quickly than if you take longer trips with fewer stops. If you drive aggressively, accelerating hard and stopping quickly, you put more strain on the accessory drive belt than if you drove more modestly.
Despite this, there is no way to prevent belt wear and tear, as it is inherent to the design itself. Normally, these belts are expected to last from around 45,000 to 75,000 miles in Land Rovers, but this varies according to the factors outlined above. This means regular inspection of your belt is important to ensure it is in good shape, and if it’s not, replace it as soon as possible.
Belts can wear due to the heat of the engine itself, leading them to warp as time passes. They can also fray at the edges or be damaged by fluid leaks (such as coolant) causing a glazed appearance.
Some of the symptoms of accessory drive belt failure include:
- Unusual Noise: You might hear a squealing or even chirping noise from the engine bay. Coolant leaks can cause this squeal to occur as the fluid hits the belt.
- Steering trouble: You might find the steering wheel is harder to turn due to lack of power steering. However, the steering itself might go into limp mode, which makes it harder to steer, as well, but the vehicle does this to protect itself from further damages.
- Overheating: The cooling system relies on a functional water pump. If your engine overheats, you might literally smell the heat, see smoke arising from under the hood, or have a light illuminate on the dashboard signaling your vehicle is too hot. Note that overheating is a dangerous condition and it is best to shut off the car when it is safe to do so and avoid driving a car with an overheated engine.
- Air conditioning problems: Without the air compressor, you might notice your A/C blows warmer than is used to, and even fail to be cool at all.
Although you cannot prevent wear of an accessory drive belt, you can avoid these symptoms and possible damages by getting regular inspections and promptly replacing worn belts.
Landmark Motors for Your Land Rover’s Accessory Drive Belt
Our certified mechanics at Landmark Motors in Bellevue, Washington specialize in European, luxury vehicles, which includes your Land Rover. You can be confident that in coming to us, you will receive affordable, high-quality service by our team of experts. To schedule an appointment, call us at 425-861-1978 today!