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Drive Belt Inspection and Replacement

By Joel Ilton on Thursday, 1 November 2018

 

How Much Is a Drive Belt?
There are many different layouts when it comes to a drive belt.

Most modern vehicles only have one serpentine belt, which runs all of the accessories on the vehicle.

These start from $100 up to $250+ to replace. Most older vehicles have separate belts, that run their own components. Belts for these range from $80 up to $150+, depending on how many belts need to be replaced.

All motor vehicles possess at least one drive belt, some have up to four, depending on the number of accessories fitted to the engine.

The serpentine belt, or drive belt – also known as a V belt – is what connects auxiliary components to the engine crankshaft pulley.

Without drive belts, your alternator would not be able to provide charge to the battery, your power steering would fail to operate, and your car may even overheat!

These components are critical for safe operation of your vehicle, so every drive belt must be inspected at regular intervals, to ensure it is in good working condition.

The high temperature of the engine bay can cause the belt’s rubber to crack and perish over time.

If it is not replaced, it can lead to breakage of the belt and failure of the power steering, alternator, water pump and air conditioning system.

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Symptoms of a Failing Drive Belt

  • Loud squeaking noise from engine bay
  • Power steering heavy or not working
  • Engine overheating
  • Air conditioning not working

Common Drive Belt Issues

Squeaking Noise from Engine Bay
When a drive belt is worn out or requires adjusting, you may hear a high pitched squeaking noise coming from the engine.

This is the belt ‘slipping’ on the components that it is supposed to be running the power steering, alternator, water pump and air conditioning system.

Not only is it embarrassing, but may also mean that the components are not receiving the full power that is required to drive safely.

This can lead to heavier steering, a flat battery or overheating of your vehicle.

 

Battery Light is on
If the belt is slipping badly or failed altogether, your battery light may come on.

This means that the alternator is not charging correctly and the car is running on battery power alone.

This could mean that your car may not start again, if you switch it off, you’re left stranded.

 

Power Steering and Air Conditioning not working
Depending on the layout of your vehicles drive belt system, a failing drive belt may cause the power steering and air conditioning to malfunction.

If the power steering fails when the vehicle is moving, it could lead to serious safety issues, or even an accident!

 

Wear and Tear
Cracking and fraying of the drive belt, uneven wear and excessively worn or damaged ribs all indicate that it’s time to have your belt replaced.

 

Drive Belt Inspection
Our mechanics will inspect the accessory drive belt system, including the belt, the idler pulleys and tensioners (if applicable) as well as the accessories that the belt runs on.

If any repairs or replacement is required, a quote will be provided for all work needed to return the system back to manufacturers standards.

Drive Belt Replacement
Our mechanics will replace the drive belt that requires attention, as well as any idler pulleys or tensioners that have failed. The engine will then be run, to ensure correct operation of all accessories and that all noises have been rectified.

Why Is It Important to Have Your Drive Belts Inspected or Replaced?
The drive belt connects all the components to the engine and transfers the engines power to the accessories allowing them to operate correctly.

The power steering, alternator, air conditioning, and water pump (on some vehicles), will fail to operate if there is an issue with the drive belt. This can lead to massive safety issues if left unchecked.

How Much Is a Drive Belt?
There are many different layouts when it comes to a drive belt.

Most modern vehicles only have one serpentine belt, which runs all of the accessories on the vehicle.

These start from $100 to $250+ to replace. Most older vehicles have separate belts, that run their own components. Belts for these range from $80 to $150+, depending on how many belts need to be replaced.

If you notice any of these symptoms, have your vehicle inspected by one of AutoGuru's 1,600+ qualified workshops, or have a fully certified mobile mechanic come to your house or office – Too Easy!

 

Image Credit: Reinstalling serpentine belt - Stephen Kruso, D.Cyrus, Nick Nguyen

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