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A serpentine belt is a relatively long, flat, multi-ribbed belt that is driven by the engine’s crankshaft pulley. The belt drives many, and often all, of the engine accessories such as the alternator, air conditioning compressor, power steering pump, water pump, and air pump. The serpentine belt is tensioned by a hydraulic or spring-loaded automatic tensioner. Some older cars use a serpentine belt to drive most accessories but will also have a shorter v-style belt to drive, for example, the power steering pump.
No. Should the belt have visible damage, you risk unexpected and sudden breakage that could potentially leave you stranded. Serpentine belt problems that result in the alternator not charging may cause the battery to discharge, which will result in loss of electrical power to the vehicle. Additionally, if a deteriorated belt breaks and that belt drives the water pump, the engine will overheat in a matter of seconds.