Belts and Batteries

- Belts A belt slipping around a pulley reduces the efficiency of the components it drives. A worn, defective, or incorrectly tensioned belt can lead to battery failure and engine overheating. Cracks on the under-sides of belts can lead to loose belts. This greatly reduces belt life. A belt with cracks can break without warning and should be replaced. A glazed belt with its slick board-like appearance may fail to grip the pulleys properly and slip. This can also cause a discharged battery, engine overheating, and early belt failure.

-Belt Deflection Test After completing belt inspection, check belt tension. Depress the belt with your thumb, midway between the pulleys. If the belt goes in more than one half an inch when applying pressure equal to replacing a crimped bottle cap, the belt needs tightening.

-Inspection Squeeze the hoses. They should not feel brittle or spongy. Squeezing the hoses is the only way to check the interior of the hose without removing them and visually inspecting them. If a hose is leaking at the connection then tighten the clamp. If tightening does not stop the leak, or if the clamp cannot be tightened, have the hose and the clamp replaced. Pay particular attention to the short bypass hose(near the water pump) because this hose is under severe service and should be replaced if it shows signs of deterioration.

-Batteries Your vehicle's basic source of electricity is a battery. Its most important job is to start your engine. Once the engine is running, an alternator takes over to supply the car's electrical needs and recharge the battery.

- Battery Safety Always treat the battery with respect. The sulfuric acid in it can severely burn your skin, and will damage your car's paint. Wear safety glasses when working near the battery. Batteries give off hydrogen gas that will explode if ignited by a cigarette or a spark.

-Battery Types Presently there are two kinds of batteries on the market: a battery which has one cap for each two-volt cell, and the maintenance-free battery which have no cell caps and to which water cannot be added. Both are made with either top or side terminals.

-Battery Inspection Battery service begins with inspecting and cleaning the battery and cables.

1. Remove the cell caps and check the level of the liquid (electrolyte) in the battery. If the liquid is not up to the top of the indicator, or one half inch above the top of the vertical plates inside the battery, add water to bring it to the correct level. The easiest way to do this is with a meat baster. Use distilled or mineral-free drinking water.

2. Inspect the battery case for cracks and check for loose terminal posts. replace a damaged battery as soon as possible.

3. Inspect the outside of the battery for moisture, dirt and grease that may cause a power drain.

4. Look at the cables. Check for broken wires or weak cable-to clamp connections. Replace damaged cables as soon as possible.

5. Check for loose connections between the cable clamps and battery posts.

-Battery Cleaning Keeping your battery clean is one way to reduce the chance of your car not starting. Clean the battery with a solution of baking soda and water(1teaspoon baking soda per pint of water). Be careful to keep corrosion off the paint and rubber parts of your car. Do not let the soda solution enter the battery. An easy way to deposit the solution where you want it is by using a meat baster. Rinse with clean water and dry. Remove badly corroded cables and clamps and clean them with the baking soda solution. You can usually do this with your hands. Do not pry cables loose with a screw driver. If the cables will not come off easily, use cable pullers. After the battery is free of corrosion and dirt, you may lightly coat the connectors and terminals with a thin layer of petroleum jelly to reduce further corrosion.