Automotive Articles – HOW TO INSPECT YOUR SERPENTINE BELT FOR WEAR

What does your alternator, water pump, air conditioner, and energy steering have in widespread? On a contemporary car, they’re all pushed by a serpentine belt. What you don’t need is for this lengthy strip of rubber to all of a sudden break whilst you’re on the street, as you’ll lose all of those pushed equipment and presumably the engine itself.

Able to lasting 50,000 miles or extra, at the moment’s serpentine belts are long-lived. Nonetheless, a fast inspection once in a while might help prevent loads of complications. Right here’s how one can examine your automobile’s serpentine belt for put on and tear.

LISTEN AND LEARN Serpentine belts are likely to get a bit of noisy as they put on out with age and use. The truth is, belt squeak is often one of many first indicators that your serpentine belt is due for alternative. In case your serpentine belt squeaks or squeals, whether or not it occurs upon engine startup or on a continuing foundation, then it’s time for a extra thorough inspection.

Whereas it’s tempting to masks serpentine belt squeal with merchandise like belt dressing, doing so can truly make issues worse. Not solely are you ignoring one of many many indicators of a brief life in your serpentine belt, however some merchandise can truly worsen the belt’s situation, making it extra more likely to fail sooner.

LOOK FOR WEAR SIGNS Most serpentine belts have a tendency to wear down regularly, supplying you with loads of warning.

Search for glazing on the highest of the belt, in addition to the grooves. Friction between the belt and the drive pulleys can depart behind glazed spots. Poor belt alignment or a weak automated serpentine belt tensioner may cause slippage, leading to glazing.

Verify for fraying and cracking on the highest and edges of the belt, in addition to on the belt ribs. It’s not unusual for serpentine belts to shed materials as they age, particularly if there’s an issue with the belt’s alignment or an issue with one of many drive pulleys.

Verify the serpentine belt’s rigidity by discovering the longest run between drive pulleys and urgent down on the center of the belt. A brand-new and correctly routed serpentine belt ought to be taut and have lower than a half-inch of play, whereas a worn-out belt might give by an inch or extra.

USING A WEAR GAUGE In case you’re coping with a serpentine belt created from ethylene propylene diene monomer or EPDM, then likelihood is you gained’t see the standard indicators of damage and tear talked about above. As a substitute, EPDM belts have a tendency to wear down in the identical method as a automobile tire. Meaning you’ll discover gradual put on that’s arduous to identify with the bare eye.

A belt put on gauge is useful for locating indicators of damage and tear on an EPDM serpentine belt. With the engine off, place the belt put on gauge on the serpentine belt with the ribs on the gauge becoming into the grooves on the belt. As soon as the instrument is seated, maintain it in place with gentle stress and attempt to rock the gauge forwards and backwards.

If the gauge stays firmly seated with little to no motion, then the belt has loads of life left in it. It’s possible you’ll even see the instrument relaxation barely above the serpentine belt’s floor. If the gauge rocks laterally and/or lies fully flush in opposition to the serpentine belt, meaning the belt materials has worn down sufficient to benefit alternative.

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