Is an alternator belt the same as a serpentine belt?
The component commonly called a serpentine belt (because it snakes around a series of pulleys on an engine) is technically known as a Front Engine Accessory Drive belt, or FEAD. Many consumers simply call it a drive belt. Others refer to it as a “fan belt”, because the cars of yesteryear featured cooling fans driven by a belt connected to the engine. One of the engine accessories or components that is driven by the serpentine belt (besides the AC compressor, power steering pump, and others) is the alternator. Therefore, the “alternator belt” is the serpentine belt.
What happens if your serpentine belt breaks while driving?
A serpentine belt that breaks while you are driving can result in a hazardous condition. Without the rotational power supplied through the belt, your power steering assist will not function, your vehicle’s electrical system will be depleted, and other systems may be affected. The water pump that helps to keep your engine cool may not work either. Your engine will soon stall out as you fight the steering to control your direction. This is why it is important to stick to a regular maintenance and inspection routine.
Can I drive my car without a serpentine belt?
Without a serpentine belt, your vehicle will not operate. Under no circumstances should you attempt to drive without the serpentine belt intact. Instead, have your vehicle towed.