Industry Articles

Taking Care of Your Pickup Truck's Belts, Seals and Hoses

Written by the Brant Jones Team

Many different rubber components in your truck serve critical roles. They supply the engine and transmission with fluids, air, and lubricants. They offer robust seals and insulation, preventing fluid leakage. Some contribute to the smooth operation of specific components.

Rubber parts like fan belts, gaskets, door/window seals, and air/fluid hoses are particularly vulnerable in North America’s harsh winters. As you drive on wet roads, water, grease, and grime are kicked up from beneath the truck. Corrosion may occur in your belts, seals, and hoses due to this. If something begins to leak or slip, it could lead to much more severe issues. 

Let's take a look at some of your vehicle's most common rubber components:

Timing Belt 

This rubber belt with notches allows the crankshaft to turn the camshaft. Your engine will not operate smoothly if it is sliding, and your engine will not turn at all if it breaks. That is why it is essential to get it examined frequently.

Serpentine Belt 

Many components, including the air conditioning compressor, engine cooling fan, air injection pump, power steering pump, and others, are powered by the serpentine belt (also known as a drive belt). To prevent sliding or breaking, it is essential to ensure that it is properly tightened.


Various hoses and tubes will run throughout your truck to transport air or fluid between multiple components. Air hoses, coolant hoses, hydraulic brake lines, and other hoses should be checked and changed regularly.

Seals and Gaskets

To avoid fluid leaks, your gearbox pan gasket, rear main engine seal, and other gaskets and seals throughout the vehicle are essential. Any broken seals or gaskets should be replaced right away.

Seals for doors, windows, trunks, and hoods

Though not essential to the vehicle's performance, all outer seals are critical for providing insulation and preventing outside water from entering the vehicle, which may cause internal damage.

Tips for preventive maintenance

Every day, we talk about and promote preventive maintenance, and it's a subject that should be on everyone's mind. Keeping regular maintenance records, doing necessary pre-trip inspections, and periodically inspecting key equipment sections like engines, brakes, and refrigerated units are all critical checkpoints. Belts and hoses are two of the more fundamental components we'll look at today.


Serpentine belts, single continuous belts that drive various components in an engine, are currently used in many engine systems. This is useful to a driver since it reduces the number of belts to examine to one or two. Here's how to do an inspection:

  • Use your hands to inspect the belts; they are the most effective instruments for ensuring that belts are in excellent operating order.
  • Premature wear should be the focus of the examination. This is most often seen on the belt's outside margins. Small misalignments on the outer margins are incredibly noticeable.
  • Check for lateral play; any present may rapidly wear and eat into the main body of the belt.
  • Examine the edges for evidence of fraying - this sort of wear may suggest not only that the belt needs to be changed but also that a larger problem must be addressed.
  • Cracks on the top, sides, and bottom of older belts indicate their age. Belts should be flexible and elastic; any brittle belt that fractures and resists flexing will quickly deteriorate and should be replaced.
  • Make sure the belt is properly tensioned. Newer engines use spring-loaded belt tensioners that automatically maintain correct belt tension while preventing overtightened belts. Overtightening a belt exerts additional pressure on the bearings, which may result in misalignment and, eventually, belt failure. Tension may be checked by pushing down on the belt; although some "play" is to be expected, movement should be limited to roughly a quarter-inch up or down. (Too much "play" indicates that the belt tensioner is deteriorating and should be changed.)


Another straightforward maintenance task is inspecting a truck's hoses and connections. Hoses that carry coolant wear out from the inside out. Weak areas emerge when a coolant line deteriorates, allowing foreign material to access the heater core. Wear may happen everywhere that hoses or fittings are fixed, clamped, linked, bent, or otherwise secured. Here's how to do an inspection:

  • Use your hands once more.
  • There will rarely be visual evidence of wear. One of the simplest and most effective methods to examine the condition of a cooling hose is to feel it.
  • Turn the system off and test the hose's stiffness between your thumb and fingers to see whether it's worn. If the hose is spongy, it is worn out and should be replaced.
  • Scuffs, gouges, bulges, and abrasions that are difficult to see may also be detected by manually inspecting the hose. Examine fittings, clamps, and connections for moisture, seepage, or extra dirt and grime.
  • Coolant hoses should be placed so that the bend is relaxed and not pushed away from the fitting. Any tension on the hose, no matter how little, allows pressure to build up and a weak area to emerge.
  • On a truck, there might be up to 50 clamps and various clamping mechanisms. Consider the cooling system's hose type, size, and material, and attempt to utilize claims that can give consistent tension and sealing.

Final words 

By performing these simple checks on your truck’s belts, hoses and seals you are better able to detect component wear early on.  If you notice changes or deterioration of any of these components be sure to book your truck for service. Doing so will help you prevent larger breakdowns in the future. 

Contact Brant Jones Auto & Diesel Today!

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