A serpentine belt is a single ribbed belt that helps drive all accessories of a modern car or truck including the alternator, A/C and power steering. Prior to their advent, V-belts that required periodic maintenance and adjustment were in common use. Serpentine belts are better and last longer, however they require regular maintenance. In particular you should perform an inspection after several thousand miles so that you can replace them in time. Serpentine belt inspection involves looking for signs of wear in the belt to help determine when to replace it.
The reason you need to pay great attention to these belts is because they are responsible for the efficient running of your vehicle. Regular inspections will help you prevent sudden breakdowns which often end up being quite irritating. There are a few ways you can determine when you require new drive belts for your vehicle and the following serpentine belt inspection tips would help you determine whether your old belt is wearing out.
Check Your Mileage
Determine the type of serpentine belt installed in your vehicle to help you check if it has reached its mileage threshold. There are two main types of serpentine belts, each built to last a certain mileage threshold. Neoprene belts typically last for between 50,000 and 60,000 miles whereas the newer EPDM belts last for up to 100,000 miles. If your vehicle has already surpassed the mileage for their respective belt types, you should have your serpentine belt inspection carried out and replaced accordingly.
Look For Cracks
You should look for cracks in your serpentine belts. Cracks were easily spotted in neoprene belts however the latest EPDM belts require a little further investigation to determine genuine wear. You need to put everything pertaining to your vehicle into consideration to identify such wear, and this includes vehicle mileage, tensioner performance as well as the operation of system components. Common signs of a worn serpentine belt include decreased performance of your power steering, poor engine cooling system, and degraded alternator charging. If any of these signs show up in your vehicle, you require a thorough serpentine belt inspection.
What Happens After the Serpentine Belt Inspection?
If you decide your belt needs replacement and don’t want to undertake the work yourself you can visit Jiffy Lube, Valvoline Instant Oil Change, or The Lube Center.