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A serpentine belt is a rubber or fabric belt that loops around all the pulleys on an engine in order to transfer power from one side of the motor to the other. Without it, your car would not be able to start! Serpentine belts are also known as V-belts and can last anywhere from 50,000 miles to 100,000 miles depending on what kind you have. In this article, we’ll discuss the average lifespan of a serpentine belt and its aging signs.
How Long Does a Serpentine Belt Last?
The life expectancy of a serpentine belt will vary based on the materials used. Older belts made from neoprene rubber can last up to 50,000 miles, while those constructed from EPDM may last up to 100,000 miles.
Conventional Belt – Neoprene Rubber Serpentine Belt
Before, neoprene rubber, a replacement for natural rubber that’s also commonly used in hoses, gaskets, seals and other applications not related to automobiles.
The neoprene construction of the belt ensures that it remains flexible regardless of temperature, making it a durable product. However, neoprene belts are also prone to cracking after 50,000 miles. They tend to lose their elasticity after that. This degradation is not only limited to the ribs, as chunks can also come apart from the ribbing.
EPDM Serpentine Belts
As desired for a longer serpentine belt lifetime, OEMs changed to EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) material.
The material is more expensive, but it has an increased service life of 100,000 miles. EPDM belts maintain their flexibility longer, which decreases the chance of cracks and changes in tension, in comparison with neoprene belts.
The best way to gauge the wear on an EPDM serpentine belt is by using a belt wear gauge.
|Neoprene Serpentine Belt||50,000-60,000 miles|
|EPDM Serpentine Belts||100,000 miles|
Tips on Extending Serpentine Belt Lifetime
50,000 miles to 100,000 miles is the average life expectancy of a serpentine belt but there are a few things you can do in order to increase its life. Here are a few tips:
- Make sure to change the oil in your car regularly as this will reduce friction and heat. This can help extend the life of belts, spark plugs, hoses, and other engine components.
- Driving at higher speeds increases wears on the serpentine belt because more power is required to turn the wheels.
- Cleaning is important too. The cleaner the parts directly contacted with the belt, the less likely it is that dirt and grime will accumulate on your belts.
- It’s generally a good idea to replace all of your car’s cooling system hoses every 60,000 miles as these can cause belt failure by restricting flow when they start to harden or crack.
Signs for Serpentine Belt Replacement
As we all know, driving with a broken serpentine belt is extremely dangerous and is never recommended by auto experts. That’s why we should look for the wear and tear signs of serpentine belts regularly. Below are the signs of serpentine belts aging and a replacement or having your car service will be needed.
- Your car is making a squealing noise when you start the engine.
- The belt has been broken or cut by something in your engine compartment, such as an air cleaner cover, and should be replaced at once.
- Cracking on the belt surface.
- A belt starts to slip, causing a rough ride.
- The serpentine belt has lost its elasticity and no longer provides tension for the other components in your engine compartment.
- The rubber is brittle from age or oil contamination and may break if too much pressure is applied as it runs over pulleys.
- Grooves on the in-circles are worn to a depth of more than one-third of the exposed cross-section.
- The belt has been pinched between two pulleys and should be replaced immediately.
- A serpentine belt is frayed or kinked in more than one place along its length – it must be replaced soon as it can snap.
The health of your serpentine belt affects your driving experience. As now you know hong long does a serpentine belt last, you should keep an eye on the mileage that you replaced your old belt.