What to Look For When Inspecting Belts and Hoses After Automotive School

As a trained automotive professional, you can help prevent long-term vehicle damage for your clients with your trained eye. Cars are complex machines, and with all the things that can go wrong, it can be easy to miss key signs of malfunction or wear and tear, which can be detrimental when left unattended. After completing your automotive training at CATI, you’ll be prepared to spot difficult-to-notice problems with just a brief inspection, and one issue that you’ll find is commonly overlooked are problems with a vehicle’s belts and hoses. Below, prepare for a successful automotive career by exploring some of the most common malfunctions and damages that are associated with belts and hoses.

What Are Belts and Hoses, and Why Are They Important? 

In order to understand the dangers of belt and hose damage, it’s important to know their respective functions. The belts power the vehicle’s alternators, the power steering pump and the water pump. Newer vehicles use serpentine belts, which constantly spin when a car is running and use rotational force to power the different components of a vehicle. After automotive training, you can also expect to see v-belts, which are used in older vehicles and may be heavier and more difficult to work with. The hoses in a vehicle carry gas, brake fluid, anti-freeze, and air, and both belts and hoses contribute to the overall performance of a car’s engine. 

During your automotive training, you’ll come to understand the importance of belts and hoses.
During your automotive training, you’ll come to understand the importance of belts and hoses.

How to Spot Problems With Hoses After Automotive Training 

Hoses are made from rubber compounds designed to absorb the vibrations between the engine and radiator of a vehicle or between the engine and the firewall. In order to determine the condition of the coolant hoses, it’s important to check the coolant recovery tank to ensure proper fluid levels. Low levels could indicate cracks in the hoses where fluid is leaking out. You’ll also be able to glean a lot of information from how a hose feels. One of the more difficult hose failures to spot is a process called electrochemical degradation (ECD), which occurs from the inside out, creating small holes that are difficult to observe. To detect ECD, simply squeeze the hose and look out for any spots that feel squishy. When a hose is in good condition, it will feel firm yet flexible. 

How to Spot Common Automotive Belt Problems 

As you’ll find when you become a mechanic, most vehicles now use a single serpentine belt to power the alternators, power steering pump, and water pump. After about four years or 58,000 kilometres, they need to be replaced. With a brief examination, you’ll be able to tell when a vehicle’s belt has run its course. The easiest signs to observe are cracks, splitting, and fraying. When a belt is shiny or ‘glazed,’ it may have slipped on its pulley system, likely due to a tension problem or a lack of grip. In this case, belts can become more prone to cracks or overheating. The easiest way to observe cracks, the separation between layers, or missing pieces of the belt’s grooves is to twist the belt, making the damage more visible. If you find that a belt needs replacing, ensure that the new belt is identical in length and width, and make sure that it also has the same number of grooves as the original.

Be sure to look out for cracks in a vehicle’s hoses.
Be sure to look out for cracks in a vehicle’s hoses.

If you’re interested in using your keen eye and technical skills to help drivers avoid preventable damage to their vehicles, a career in auto repair could be right for you. At CATI, our automotive training program will equip you with the knowledge you’ll need to launch your auto career, whether you’re most interested in body repair, dispatching, service operations, diesel, detailing or another related field.


Ready to start auto mechanic training? 

Contact CATI for more information! 

Form is submitting