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Serpentine Belt

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How does the engine—with its various components—work in perfect rhythm and synchronization? Probably, this question crosses car owners' minds all the time. Car manufacturers engineer their models in such a way that the parts won't knock each other out each time they're activated. Also, there are auto parts like the Serpentine Belt that help in the proper synchronization of the entire engine. This component is a long, continuous belt that connects and drives various components in the engine, including the alternator, power steering pump, A/C compressor, water pump, and air pump. Before serpentine belts were developed, car makers used multiple thin belts to drive the said engine parts. Thanks to modern technology, serpentine belts are now built inside the latest makes and models. Having one single belt is better than having multiple belts because one belt can withstand bigger amounts of tension without stretching. Also, because there is only one belt that drives the various engine components, car owners can easily determine if it's broken. Another advantage of using the Serpentine Belt is easy installation. Only one pulley is used with this kind of belt, which makes it a much easier replacement task compared to that of multiple belts. The only thing you have to consider when installing this component is compatibility. Replacement serpentine belts are not hard to find. In fact, our online shop Auto Parts Warehouse provides a wide array of serpentine belts at very affordable prices! With our selection, you'll surely find a compatible belt for your car.

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Tips to Bear in Mind When Purchasing a Serpentine Belt

The performance of your engine accessoriesóthe water pump, alternator, and fanóis 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 itís important to regularly check your belt even if it doesnít 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, donít 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 wonít be able to scrutinize the product personally. To be sure youíll get the right replacement, check out the unitís part number and make sure it is designed to replace your old beltís part number.

This also particularly helpful if youíre purchasing a serpentine belt only. By getting an exact replacement for your stock, you can be sure that itís 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 thatís one size smaller than your old serpentine belt.

It isnít a good idea to install a belt thatís either too big or too small. If you canít find your manual and thereís no way for you to know the exact length of the belt, measure itís length with a string and get a belt thatís one size smaller than the measurement youíve obtained. If youíve measured 80 inches, get a 79-Ĺ-inch replacement belt. This is because the belt has tension while the string doesnít.

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How to Visually Inspect the Serpentine Belt

Unlike the v-belt that requires periodic adjustment, serpentine belts need no maintenance at all. But that doesnít mean they shouldnít be checked regularly. At every oil change, itís a good idea to inspect the condition of the serpentine belt. By doing so, you can catch a bad belt right before it snaps or fix any damage that may shorten the beltís service life.

Here are the steps on how to do visual inspection on your serpentine belt:

Difficulty level: Easy

Step 1: Consult your ownerís manual to find the beltís location and to be familiar with its specs. Take note of how the belt looks like and what components are powered by it. Prop the hood up and look for the belt. You may need a flashlight if your work area isnít well-lit for you to clearly see the condition of the belt.

Step 2: Look for oil on the serpentine belt. The beltís back or smooth side is what drives the vehicleís water pump. When this side of the belt gets soaked or glazed with oil, it will definitely slip and fail to keep the engine cool. Also, when thereís oil in the serpentine belt, there could be some kind of a leak somewhere. You have to do some more troubleshooting to find out where the oil is coming from and have it fixed.

Step 3: Check for tears or abrasions. If thereís any, thatís an indication that the belt is rubbing against a pulley flange or a bolt as it runs. The tears will get more serious as the belt gets older. If this is the case with your ride, smoothen out the pulley flange or bend the component that rubs with the belt to get it out of the beltís way.

Step 4: Search for bumps or pinholes as these are signs that debris and dirt have found their way into the area between the belt and the pulleys. To inspect for missing chunks of the beltís ribs, you can turn it around and crank the engine to reveal other sections of the belt for inspection. If there are a few, widely spaced chunks, thereís no need for you to worry. But if they are many and are close to each other, that calls for a replacement.

Step 5: Donít ignore cracks. While hairline cracks are normal, they shouldnít be deep enough to get into the backing or the flat side of the serpentine belt. If the crack is deep, then you must have your belt replaced. Also, if the cracks are 3mm apart, these are indications that your serpentine belt has already seen better days.