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Can a Serpentine Belt Cause Check Engine Light? (Explained)

A serpentine belt controls engine parts concurrently to allocate power to the power steering pump, air conditioning compressor, the alternator, and the water pump.

Clearly, a serpentine belt is a one-man army to regulate your car flawlessly. Let’s find out if it causes check engine light or not.

Can a serpentine belt cause check engine light?

A serpentine belt is a crucial part of the engine to work perfectly. When the belt becomes loose, it creates some noises from the engine. Which causes the engine to function poorly, and several issues arise. Overheating and engine failure occurs. Eventually, it causes the check engine to light.

Serpentine belt generally works without disruption for four to six years. So, every four to six years, you need to change your serpentine belt. Or the belt will start to slack and be damaged. And it will cause your engine to cost some of its efficiency.

Bad or worn serpentine belt:

A serpentine belt gradually loses its strength and efficacy. As time goes on, the belt starts to lose its functionality day by day. As the efficiency falls slowly, the vehicle starts to become uncomfortable and cause the engine light on.

Beginning with the malfunctioning air conditioner, overheating issues, and the battery losing its power faster.

The easy way to find this problem is to check if there is any crack on the belt or not. If there are any cracks and the belt is worn off, then you must change the belt.

Loose serpentine belt:

A serpentine belt is mainly made of rubber. That gives the stretchy texture to the belt to work simultaneously throughout the engine without causing the problem. As time goes by, the flexible state of the belt starts to fade.

As time goes on, the serpentine belt becomes loose, creating a problem. The problem includes malfunction in the power steering system, check engine light, screechy sound from the engine, and draining of battery power.

How to tell if the serpentine belt is bad?

To know if your serpentine belt is working correctly or not, you need to check it properly after a proper interval. If you can act beforehand, you may save some bucks.

So, here are some ways to tell if your serpentine belt is good or bad. Remember, proper checking may save your time, money, and vehicle.

Signs of Cracks wearying on the upper cover:

A serpentine belt is made of rubber. Which will eventually fade or attract some dust, making it stiff. And the belt may show some crack within it. Moreover, after using it for several years, the belt stretches.

Properly Aligned with The Pulleys:

There are some grooves over the serpentine belt, which helps to stay put with the pulleys. So, if the belt stays good, it will remain attached to the pulleys. But if the belt misplaces anyhow, the engine will not work correctly.

Look if the belts are Slippery:

Slippery belts will not have grip. That will cause the problem of displacement all the time. So, just look for the belt that has a proper grip.

What can a bad or loose serpentine belt cause?

A Bad serpentine belt can cause a lot of issues. And if they are left unattended then it causes accident risk. Check the list below to know what problems do a bad serpentine causes.

Power Steering Malfunction:

When suddenly your power steering becomes uncomfortable, you should check if there is a problem with your serpentine belt or not. When the belt becomes loose, it starts such issues as malfunctioning power steering. 

Scratchy Sound:

On the serpentine belt, some channels adjust into the grooves of different parts, which helps those parts run easily, using this belt.

When the belt becomes old, the thin channels start to fade away over time due to constant friction. That ultimately turns the belt to lose from the grooves and creates the engine’s lousy sound.

Overheating Issues:

Due to a bad serpentine belt, the water pump works ineffectively. The water pump plays the role of engine cooling. Gradually the overheating issues cause the vehicle to lose the competence of the engine.

Obsolete Battery:

As the alternator helps the battery recharge, a bad serpentine belt aborts the power supply to the battery. That results in the battery to obsolete.

Malfunction in Air Conditioning:

The air conditioning compressor helps the atmosphere of the vehicle to stay cool. As the serpentine belt is directly related to that compressor, a bad belt can create a vast amount of malfunction in the air-cooling system.

Why did my check engine light turn on after changing the serpentine belt?

Sometimes, some vehicle circuits may disconnect or displace to set the belt. That creates some interruption in the vehicle central processing system. For that reason, even after changing, the engine light would pop up.

It is harmless to your vehicle. If the engine light pops up after the serpentine belt installation, just take the vehicle back to the repair store where your serpentine belt is installed. Then instruct them to connect all the circuits properly.

And tell them to check with the scanner to see if there is any other problem still there.

Can you drive with a bad serpentine belt?

Bad serpentine will disrupt you from having proper air ventilation and air conditioning. It will provide you with malfunctioned power steering and squealing sounds all over the road.

For a good driving experience, you will always want to have a vehicle without any disruption. With disruptive a vehicle, somehow you may run the vehicle, but it will bother you a lot.

You can drive with a bad serpentine belt, but it will bring no good to your vehicle and your driving experience.

Can I run my engine without a serpentine belt, and how long?

Most modern vehicle driving is not only dependent on one serpentine belt. Nowadays, several belts are used for different works. You may have hydraulic-powered steering or a timing belt for your water pump. So, lots of solution is here in the market.

Yes, suppose your engine is entirely dependent on a serpentine belt. In that case, you may drive your vehicle just for twenty to ninety minutes. But in warm weather, it will be hard for you to drive 90 minutes without a serpentine belt.

Final thoughts

A serpentine belt is one of the central regulators of many functions. Proper motion of this belt will help the engine to work correctly. Both the engine and interior airflow is dependent on this belt. If the belt becomes bad, the engine will not run well. Then the check engine light will pop up.