Belt replacement is a key part of auto repair and preventative maintenance. Thanks to modern manufacturing, many of the belts in your engine can last months or even years but that means that replacement recommendations have also had to change and adapt.
Most mechanics will probably suggest having an inspection of your belts done, so they can see the belts’ conditions before making a recommendation. While some repairs are more difficult to spot, most signs of belt wear can be seen just by simply popping the hood and taking a look. You might notice:
Glazing, as shown in the picture above, is caused by the belt slipping. Friction between the belt and the accessory drive pulley(s) created by slipping has overheated the belt and reshaped the material.
Fraying typically indicates misalignment between the belt and the pulleys. When the belt is not properly on the pulleys, the scrapes the edges causing the edges to pull apart.
Tiny cracks in a serpentine belt aren’t necessarily bad but deep ones mean it’s running out of time. You should ask your mechanic to take a look to see if you need a replacement.
Any of these signs warrant immediate replacement. Once a belt starts to show the fabric cords, it is time to replace it. Belts that have been contaminated by grease or oil should also be replaced, as these fluids tend to deteriorate belt material.
The easiest way to find out the approximate lifespan of your belts is to call your dealership repair facility, the belt manufacturer, or your local mechanic and ask. If you don’t have a regular shop or trusted mechanic, you may get varying estimates. It’s important to keep in mind that how your vehicle is used can also be a factor. Operating your car under “severe” weather conditions will accelerate the wear on most belts (as well as on other vital parts) which will probably be noticeable during a visual inspection. Conditions lie winters with freezing temperatures and summer heat in the triple digits would be classified as “severe” and become a factor in belt life.
Knowing the condition of your vehicle’s belts, and getting them replaced when worn, could save you from a costly and inconvenient repair.
Our expert mechanics use the latest diagnostic equipment, and high-quality CARQUEST auto parts, to get your brakes back in shape. Plus, all of our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3 year / 36,000-mile warranty on parts and labor. Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.