We have been replacing automobile hoses and belts since 1977. A lot has changed in the last 40 years, and knowing what each belt and hose on a vehicle is used for, and what its function is, has become of paramount consideration. There are many types and sizes of both hoses and belts, so you want to make sure that yours will be replaced with not only the correct one, but replaced with one that is made of the highest quality and is also recommended by the manufacturer of your specific type of car, truck, crossover or SUV.
Car belts are used to power the alternator, water pump, power steering pump, AC compressor and more. A serpentine belt is a single belt that is used to power to almost all engine accessories. A V-belt does the same, except it takes more than one belt to do the same job as does one serpentine belt. A timing belt will help the crankshaft turn the camshaft. It opens and closes the engine valves (along with the pistons) in a synchronized manner. Some vehicles use a timing chain for the same purpose, although they are much less prominent these days. Over time belts will wear out and become glazed (causing slippage), cracked, and frayed. You may notice a worn out belt will start making a noise like a high-pitched whine. All car belts need to have the proper tension in order to work correctly, as well as the correct notches (if your type of belt requires them).
The outside of a hose can become cracked, dry and brittle, but the inside of a hose can wear out too. Car hoses are made to convey fluids and vapors. Hoses can be made from a variety of materials including rubber, PVC, or silicone. Types of hoses include barrier and non-barrier (A/C refrigerant), hydraulic (power steering and brakes), coolant (heater and radiator), and also high pressure and low pressure (fuel lines).
Coolant and Heater Hoses - Radiator Hoses
A/C and Heater Hose
Power Steering Hose
Oil Coolant Hose
Check out these helpful links on car and truck hoses and belts:
How to Check Belts
Auto Advice: How to Check Hoses and Belts (video)