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Click & Clack
Talk Cars
“The Tappet Brothers’’

By Ray Magliozzi

Belt and hoses might
need replacing

Dear Car Talk:
In 1999, I purchased a 2000
Chevrolet Silverado pickup. I
bought it because, at that
time, styles were changing,
and I didn’t want to drive
something that looked like
a semi. It was a good purchase. I have done the maintenance on it the entire time,
and it is in good shape. It is
garage kept and has less than
40,000 miles on it.
Two years ago, I replaced
all the tires. They still looked
almost new, but I was cautious because of the age.
My question: Since the tires
might have needed to be replaced due to age and not
mileage, what about the belts
and hoses in my engine? Is
there a way to check and see
if they need to be replaced?
I’m hoping to keep this
truck a lot longer. Thanks. -Chuck
Belts and hoses are two
completely different animals, Chuck. Belts are part
of the genus Beltasorus,
and include species such as
Beltasorus AirConditionus.
Whereas hoses fall under
the Hosiforus family, which
includes Coolanthus and
Let’s take belts first. Belts
typically do wear out after a
while. They get a lot of use
and operate under a lot of
friction and heat. But it’s very
easy to inspect your belts
and see if they show any
signs of wear and tear, drying or cracking.
Your Silverado, Chuck,
has just one belt; a single,
serpentine belt that runs the
alternator, the power steering
pump, the water pump and
the air conditioning compressor. And any good mechanic can have a look at it
and let you know in a couple
of minutes if it looks ugly
and needs to be replaced.
Even though they’re under

the hood and protected from
direct sunlight, your belts
ARE still exposed to ozone in
the air, which degrades rubber over time, regardless of
your car’s mileage. So they’re
worth checking.
Hoses, on the other hand,
almost never need replacing
these days. Twenty-five years
ago, we’d see hoses that got
so dried out and brittle that
you could snap them like a
twig. And obviously, hoses
like that were prone to cracking and leaking. But they’ve
improved rubber compounds
so much that we rarely replace
a hose anymore. And my retirement fund has suffered
tremendously as a result.
That said, some (maybe all)
of this stuff under your hood
is 20 years old now, Chuck.
And if you really intend to
keep the truck for a lot longer, for a few hundred bucks,
you can have your mechanic
replace your serpentine belt
and every one of your hoses.
And if you’re the kind of guy
who sleeps better after doing
things proactively, and you’ve
already stocked up on 244
rolls of pandemic toilet paper and don’t have an urgent
need for the money, you can
go ahead and change all your
belts and hoses and then
never think about them again.
Or if you’d rather not spend
the money, just ask your mechanic to inspect your belt and
hoses next time you’re in for
service, and do what he recommends, which may be nothing.
Got a question about cars?
Write to Ray in care of King
Features, 628 Virginia Drive,
Orlando, FL 32803, or email by
visiting the Car Talk website at
(c) 2020 by Ray Magliozzi
and Doug Berman
Distributed by King Features
Syndicate, Inc.


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