Unknown Belt

I have a 2011 honda accord, which I read has a timing chain. But under the hood I see a belt of some sort, what is it for and does it need to be changed?

If you can see the belt and it has no teeth on the back side it is your serpentine belt that drives the alternator, AC, power steering, basically any accessory. And yes, they do need periodic changing. 8-10 years or 100,000 miles is a pretty good target.

I think it is that thanks. If the serpentine belt breaks does it cause permanent damage like a timing belt can or just temporary loss of car function?

No permanent damage, but an inconvenience if it does break. Replacement is easy, sketch out the path before you remove the old one to make it easier to put the new one on.

If it breaks and you keep driving despite all the warning lights coming on you can overheat the engine and that can damage it.


Personally I’m more comfortable with 5-6 years and 60,000 miles, especially if you live in a hot climate, but your owner’s manual is your best guide. I only like the conservative numbers because if it should break it could do so at a very inconvenient time, like in the middle of the night in a bad part of town.


Does the belt connect to the water pump?

The serpentine belt is not to be confused with a timing belt. The serp belt is basically an accessory belt. It’s outside the engine and relatively very easy and inexpensive to replace.

The water pump on your engine is driven by the accessory belt, but it isn’t designed the same as a timing belt. If the pump should develop a leak subsequent to changing the belt, the pump is readily replaceable without undue work and cost. With engines that drive the water pump with their timing belts, the work and expense of replacing that belt is high, it’s labor-intensive, and a subsequent water pump leak will cause it all to have to be done over again. That’s why everyone recommends replacing the water pump when the timing belt is changed. With a water pump driven by the accessory belt, the labor and cost is far lower.

Does the serpentine belt connect to the water pump?

Yup. It’s the same as an accessory belt. The terms are often used interchangeably.
“Serpentine” only refers to the fact that the belt bends back and forth over different pulleys. It moves like a serpent, a snake.

The serpentine belt is one of the major causes of roadside trouble, according to the AAA. Flat tires, overheating, and broken belts cover nearly all service calls. I myself have had one break on a Ford in Northern Michigan just over the Mackinaw Bridge.

I replace them when cracks are showing or every 10 years, whichever comes first. The cost of the last one, replaced at 8 years, was only $46!

I had a 2005 Accord V6 and I replaced the serpentine belt when the timing belt was replaced. It looked great, but since it had to be removed to replace the timing belt, it was a good time to replace it too. Mine was replaced after 7 years of use. It would probably be fine up to ten years, but I definitely would replace it by then.