Q: Which parts of a car are affected when a serpentine belt breaks? Does a broken serpentine belt have any effect on a car’s braking system?
A: On most vehicles the serpentine belt runs the power steering pump, water pump, air conditioning compressor, and alternator. If the belt breaks, all of these components will not function. Power brakes commonly get their power from vacuum pressure from the engine or hydraulic pressure from the power steering pump. Brakes that get pressure from the power steering pump are called hydroboost brakes. Since hydroboost brakes run off the power steering pump, you will lose the power assist to the braking and steering system if the belt breaks. To minimize the chances of belt breakage, change the serpentine belt as recommended by the manufacturer.