When is it time to change my serpentine belt?
There is one common symptom of a bad serpentine belt that we are all familiar with: the squeal. When any of your engines belts are worn out, they have a tendency to make an awful noise. But before that time comes, any routine inspection will reveal signs that would let you know that one or more of your drive belts may be wearing out soon and should be replaced. A new belt will have sharp teeth and grooves, and they will get round over time. Also, the smooth side of a new belt starts out rough, and will get smoother and glossier over time. These two factors will lower the friction between the belt and pulleys, making it harder for them to turn. Lastly, if you notice any cracks in your serpentine belts, then they are starting to stretch and get old. If any belt rips or breaks, then you will lose the functionality of the accessory that is driven by that belt. So when your power steering belt or air conditioning belt breaks, say goodbye to those features.
What is the difference between a drive belt and a serpentine belt?
Almost all engines have a set of peripheral accessories that are powered by the kinetic energy from the crankshaft. That energy is transferred from the crank pulley to a pulley on that accessory by way of a drive belt
. Some engines will have a belt for each accessory; which means you may have a separate A/C compressor belt, a separate power steering belt, a separate alternator belt, etc. However, if one accessory drive belt controls more than one accessory, then it is called a serpentine belt for its changes in direction mimicking the appearance of a snake. These belts have a set of grooves or teeth that correspond to the pulleys on which they turn. Most of today's serpentine belts are made of EPDM (etheylene propylene diene monomer) synthetic rubber that can last up to 100,000 miles
Is it easy to do?
Changing your drive belt can be either extremely simple or very difficult. Each engine is a little bit different, so the process for loosening the belt and removing it can vary. But some basics still remain. Most serpentine belt systems have a tensioner or idler somewhere in the circuit that will either change direction of the belt or take slack away from it. Your first step to changing a belt will be to release some of the tension on the belt by turning the tensioner. Sometimes this requires a special tool; sometimes you can use a simple wrench or ratchet. Certain stretch belts that run a single accessory may require a stretch tool to pull the belt away from the pulley. Either way, you need to make slack in the belt so that it can be removed, and then the drive belt can be installed in its place.
Let's get to business.
There are many different serpentine belt manufacturers out there, and we offer the best on our website. At Car Parts Discount, you can get Continental, Bando, Gates, Dayco, or Mitsuboshi drive belts for your car or truck. All are top quality brands, and you'll often find these belts already under the hood of many vehicles being used as original equipment today. So when you need to replace one or more of your accessory belts, we've got you covered.