The performance of your engine accessories—the water pump, alternator, and fan—is directly affected by the condition of the serpentine belt. Yes, even a 5% loss of belt materials or a slight damage on it can have an effect on the operation of these accessories. This is why it’s important to regularly check your belt even if it doesn’t require any maintenance.
A bad belt can give you drivability problems. And once it snaps, it can leave you and your passengers stranded in the middle of nowhere. So as soon as you notice signs of a bad belt, don’t think twice in replacing it. When looking for replacement, here are some tips:
Make sure to get the right replacement.
When purchasing online, be extra careful in making your choice because you won’t be able to scrutinize the product personally. To be sure you’ll get the right replacement, check out the unit’s part number and make sure it is designed to replace your old belt’s part number.
This also particularly helpful if you’re purchasing a serpentine belt only. By getting an exact replacement for your stock, you can be sure that it’s compatible with the tensioner, pulley, engine, and all the accessories that should be driven by the belt.
Besides the part number, you should also pay particular attention to the number of grooves, ribs, as well as the width of the belt and make sure the specs of the replacement unit match all the specs of the stock.
Buy new gaskets, gasket adhesive, and other things you may need for the installation.
To save time and money from making multiple purchases, it will be wise to include gaskets, adhesive, as well as all the hardware you may need when installing the belt along with your serpentine belt purchase. If the tensioner has defects, you should replace it as well. You can even consider getting a kit to be sure that all the components are compatible with one another.
Purchase a belt that’s one size smaller than your old serpentine belt.
It isn’t a good idea to install a belt that’s either too big or too small. If you can’t find your manual and there’s no way for you to know the exact length of the belt, measure it’s length with a string and get a belt that’s one size smaller than the measurement you’ve obtained. If you’ve measured 80 inches, get a 79-½-inch replacement belt. This is because the belt has tension while the string doesn’t.