How to Inspect Car Belts and Hoses

Check under the hood to prevent problems

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, but usually happens in the summer. Underhood temperatures are much higher, and heat can trigger or accelerate deterioration of rubber compounds.

Coolant and Heater Hoses

Hoses are the cooling system’s weakest structural component. They are made of flexible rubber compounds to absorb vibrations between the engine and radiator, or, in the case of heater hoses, the engine and body’s firewall. Designed to hold coolant under pressure, hoses are also subjected to fluctuating extremes of heat and cold, dirt, oils, and sludge. Atmospheric ozone also attacks rubber compounds.

The most damaging cause of hose failure—electrochemical degradation (ECD)—isn’t easy to detect. According to engineers for the Gates Corporation, a parts maker, ECD attacks hoses from the inside, causing tiny cracks. Acids and contaminants in the coolant can then weaken the yarn material that reinforces the hose. Eventually, pinholes can develop or the weakened hose may rupture from heat, pressure, or constant flexing.

Some easy, basic maintenance can help prevent coolant hose failure:

  • 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, blue, 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 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, as the hot coolent will be under pressure. Also, be aware that an electric cooling fan can come on at any time.

The upper radiator hose fails more often than any other hose, followed by the water pump bypass hose (if your vehicle is so equipped), and the outlet heater hose from the engine to the heater core. Experts recommend, however, that all hoses be replaced at least every four years or when one fails. Always use replacement hoses designed to fight ECD. Trademarks will vary among hose manufacturers. (Gates uses “ECR” for Electro-Chemical Resistant). Look for a “Type EC” label on the hose or its packaging. That is a Society of Automotive Engineers standard signifying “electrochemical.” Most vehicles built after 1993 come with ECD-resistant hoses.

Accessory Belts

Many of the same elements that attack hoses also attack belts—heat, oil, ozone, and abrasion. Almost all cars and trucks built today have a single multi-grooved serpentine belt that drives the alternator, water pump, power-steering pump, and air-conditioning compressor. Older vehicles may have separate V-belts that drive the accessories. The Car Care Council says chances of a V-belt failure rise dramatically after four years or 36,000 miles, while the critical point for a serpentine belt is 50,000 miles. Any belt should be changed when it shows signs of excessive wear. But many new composite belts don’t show signs of wear until the failure occurs.

Here are tips for inspecting belts:

  • 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.

Replacement belts should be identical in length, width, and number of grooves to the factory belt. Serpentine belts are usually kept tight with an automatic tensioner. Signs of a belt-tension problem include a high-pitched whine or chirping sound and vibration noises. Without proper tension, belts will slip and generate heat or fail to turn the accessories.

If in doubt, check with a qualified technician about any cooling problems, and always consult your owner’s manual for routine maintenance procedures.

Happy Driving!


Luxury Highend Premium Cars : Delivering after-sales services is complex than manufacturing

Car Technology is becoming complex. Senssors, IOT based technologies are making after-sales difficult. OEM Dealers have no cheaper solution for services and there are few independent workshops.

The Luxury and Premium Cars companies find it tough to compete in the aftermarket. Across industries, delivering after-sales services is more complex than manufacturing products. When delivering service products, executives have to deploy parts, people, and equipment at more locations than they do to make products.

Premium Cars
Premium Cars

An after-sales network has to support all the goods a company has sold in the past as well as those it currently makes. Each generation has different parts and vendors, so the service network often has to cope with 20 times the number of SKUs that the manufacturing function deals with. Businesses also have to train service personnel, who are dispersed all over the world, in a variety of technical skills. Moreover, after-sales networks operate in an unpredictable and inconsistent marketplace because demands for repairs crop up unexpectedly and sporadically. On top of that, companies have to handle—in an environmentally safe fashion—the return, repair, and disposal of failed components.

Luxury Premium Cars
Luxury Premium Cars

Most companies either don’t know how or don’t care to provide after-sales services effectively.

In India, the number of old premium cars completing their warranty periods is much more than new ones (ET). Mercedes enters pre-owned car business in India (ET). Car owners use OEM dealers only because of servicing high-end luxury cars need special training and genuine spare parts are not easily available in India.

Multibrand workshops which caters to premium cars servicing are just few, one of them is European Motors Workshop. It has great setup with international facility. Over 25 years of technical experience & dedication to customer satisfaction with Mercedes-Benz, they are located at Gurgaon and provides luxury car servicing in New Delhi and NCR. Recently Carnation has started offering similar service and tie-up with Italian firm’s for luxury car auto parts.

Servicing premium and luxury cars, BMW, Mercedes, Audi need specific trained staff and with international standard facilities and availability of genuine spare parts.

To be successful for this offering, multibrand workshop needs to arrange spare parts and importing from other countries. European Motors Workshop is equipped with state of the art machinery selected from renowned brands from around the world.

Premium Cars
Premium Cars

The workshop boasts of 15 workstations, each well equipped with hydraulic lifts, hoists & tool bars. You can Book Service at EMW. Click here .

Market demand for parts and services set to double over the next 5 years (Auto Serve 2010 Report)

CII Report prepared by McKinsey & Company titled: “Opportunities in the Indian Automotive Aftermarket”, released at the CII Auto Serve 2010. The report observes that the Indian automotive aftermarket, which is growing at 11 per cent per annum, is at an inflection point with: the increase in vehicle parts, more complex parts, price sensitive customers, and expansion of global suppliers in terms of sourcing and distribution presence in India. The CII Report said that the market demand for parts and services set to double over the next 5 years.

According to the Report, roughly, 30 per cent of the market comprises spurious parts. Market interviews and analysis indicate that owners of older vehicles often migrate to independent service networks for cheaper and faster service. With OEMs more focussed on vehicles in their warranty period, offering higher levels of service for older cars will be necessary for independent players to attract customers. OEMs and distributors should develop branded generics to capture the cost advantage in this rapidly growing independent market: The Indian market for branded generics is already worth Rs 3,000 crore to Rs 4,000 crore and is set to grow significantly in the next 5 years. Analysis shows that generic brands tend to have much higher margins and are extremely popular among consumers looking for fully functional, yet cheaper alternatives to OE spares, especially in the non-critical product ranges.

OES’s, independent players and distributors should consider partnerships and options for forward integration: Since many key skills and capabilities required for success overlap along the value chain, forward integration offers players the potential to create additional value. While global trends and the complex nature of the Indian market indicate independent distributors are going to remain valuable components of the value chain,


The Right to Repair Act- Car owners to decide where car is serviced or repaired

The car manufacturers sell and service cars through franchised dealers. The car dealers have large infrastructure and they charge heavily. It increases cost of car maintenance. Car owners have no choice during warranty period. Usually car owners prefer get their service done by independent auto repair shop, garage to reduce car maintenance expenses. That is possible once car warranty gets expired.

With advancement of car technologies and complexity of new car systems, there is insufficient information available to independent repair shops. In USA, some car manufactures claim to provide technical information and car manuals with some cost, but still there is a demand of The Right to Repair Act.

Right to Repair Legislation Introduced to US Senate which says:

“The act would require car manufacturers to provide diagnostic and repair information, plus other data, to independent auto repair facilities.

“Consumers should have choices about where to take their cars for repair or maintenance,” says Boxer.

“This legislation is beneficial for smaller, independent auto repair shops that are currently unable to access some information about the cars when that data is held exclusively at the (automobile) dealership”

The need for Right to Repair legislation has become a necessity in order to protect the rights of car owners to decide where and how they have their vehicles serviced, whether at a new car dealer or an independent service facility. Right to Repair ensures that the person who bought the car and not the car company, can decide where that vehicle is repaired and maintained.

The act has not been passed fully in USA yet, but you can see trends globally. You can guess growth of independent auto repair shops in the near future globally.

In India, we can not imagine similar kind of act soon, as car servicing industry is still unorganized and there is no common association which can raise similar demands, but YES, yes…. scenario is changing.

Presently car mechanics change their job frequently, they join independent auto car workshops (or open their own) with a greater role of responsibility and use their experience. Upgrading car mechanics skills is not easy but Indian believed to be smart enough to understand technology (that is not easy though). India needs associations which can train them and raise similar demands of Right to Repair as in another countries. I am looking forward India grow faster >>>>

I simply want my local mechanic to be able to fix my car or it is not a suitable car for me

Car repair business has been changing when car technology is becoming high-tech. Car manufacturer supports OEM dealers and train mechanics with disclosure of all car repair information. Independent repair centre and mechanics are not trained enough to get sophisticated car repair without diagnostic tools for vehicles like Honda, Toyota and premium cars.

It has been believed by some (in USA) that car manufacturers are just trying to protect dealerships as they make more of their money from follow-up service than they do selling cars.

In USA, small car service centre invest in costly equipment and training for repair staff. They want to purchase the same equipment that the dealers purchase. The State House could pass a bill that would force car manufacturers to share sophisticated repair information with independent mechanics, not just their dealerships. That would make Massachusetts first in the nation with the so-called Right to Repair Act.

In Europe, officials rules covering the car sector could make it easier for consumers to use independent repair facilities rather than authorised service station garages.

In India, most of the small car repair shops rely on mechanics who have worked with OEM dealer earlier or they are self-trained and have no formal training. Scarcity of knowledgeable car mechanics makes difficult for small business to sustain and many workshops are out of business.

All over the world, majority of car owners interested to get their car servicing to neighborhood workshops or mechanics rather going to OEM dealers. It is truly said “I simply want my local mechanic to be able to fix my car or it is not a suitable car for me”