Do belts and hoses need to be replaced on modern vehicles?
Hoses on modern vehicles do not need to be replaced very often. With proper maintenance of your cooling system, changing the coolant every 30,000 miles (some models up to 90,000 miles), there is little reason to have a hose failure. The most common reasons for hose failure are oil soaking and dry rot. Dry rot is something that can be seen from the outside of the hose and usually takes more than 10 years to occur. Oil soaking can happen from the outside or the inside. It is easy to see oil from the outside, but it is also possible to have oil contaminate the insides of the hoses. This is less common and indicates other issues with the vehicle, or the possibility of the wrong fluid being put in the wrong place. If a hose is soaked from the inside it will swell and bulge. If any of these take place then the hoses affected should be replaced.
When it comes to replacing hoses, the 2 main ones are the radiator hoses. It is imperative to have these specific hoses replaced with the highest quality hoses available, even if it means getting factory original ones. Other hoses in the vehicle are molded to be a very specific shape and have to be exact replacement parts. There are very few instances when “bulk” cut to fit hose can be used to make a repair or replacement. Because the cooling system is one of the most important systems on a vehicle and without it severe damage can occur, it is important to replace these components before they actually break.
There are a few different types of belts that can be on modern vehicles. Serpentine belts wrap around all accessory components on the front of the engine and are usually kept in place by a hydraulic tensioner. Drive belts usually come in 2 or 3 to drive the same components on the front of the engine, however, these are tensioned with nuts and bolts and are left with a set tension. Timing belts are dwindling in numbers. Since most vehicles have chain driven motors these days, timing belts are not used on most new makes and models. That being said, it is the most important belt to replace at a specific time or mileage as recommended by the manufacturer.
Serpentine and drive belt failures in most cases just require replacement of the belt itself, however, sometimes it needs another component. Timing belt failures can cause internal engine damage on some models and thus create extremely expensive repairs. Belts, excluding timing belts, can be seen on an inspection. If they are cracking excessively or contaminated with oil or coolant they should be replaced.
Belts can also cause squeaking or squealing noises. This may occur for belts being worn out, being contaminated with oil or coolant, or having the tension set too loose. Noises can also come from the components that these belts run on. Those include power steering pump, air conditioner, water pump, several tensioner, and idler bearings, and sometimes an air injection pump.