Serpentine Drive Belt Replacement
The serpentine belt (click to listen to podcast on this subject), also known as the drive belt or multi-rib belt, is a single, continuous belt used to drive multiple accessory devices attached to the vehicle’s engine. These can include the alternator, power steering pump, water pump, air conditioning compressor as well as options like superchargers. Without the serpentine belt, there is no way to drive power to any of these devices. A serpentine belt should be replaced as soon as it shows any signs of fraying, is cracked or gets contaminated with oil. Most manufacturers recommend replacement every four (4) years or 50,000 miles as preventative maintenance. Especially in climates like here in New England where we experience extreme temperature variations. When a serpentine belt breaks, all drive power to whatever it turns is lost. This means the water pump stops circulating coolant through the engine, the alternator quits producing power and no longer is charging the vehicle’s battery, the power steering pump ceases to assist in the steering of the vehicle, and the air conditioner quits cooling and dehumidifying the windshield. Continued driving without power to your water pump will result in engine overheating and engine failure, requiring costly repairs and possibly even engine replacement. Ignoring serpentine belt replacement has a high safety impact, as you will lose the ability to steer the vehicle. You will most likely be stranded with no warning when the belt breaks. When replacing the serpentine belt it is highly recommended that we replace the belt tensioner at the same time as these hold spring pressure on the belt keeping it in place. These tend to weaken over time and mileage and need to be replaced periodically as well.
DID YOU KNOW?
20 percent of vehicles on the road today need a serpentine belt replacement. A worn belt can not only break without warning, it can slip and damage important engine accessories. Have your belt inspected and replace it if it is worn or damaged. You’ll be glad you did.
Check your owner’s manual and ask an Auto Care Plus ASE certified technician about the service life of your vehicle’s serpentine belt. We would be happy to look up the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule on our ALLDATA computer system free of charge. Serpentine drive belts should be replaced BEFORE the suggested service life of this critical component ends.