What Does a Serpentine Belt Do?
The serpentine belt receives its name from the snake-like path it takes through various engine components—including the alternator, air conditioner, power steering and water pump—and powers them as the crank shaft turns. Previously, these systems used multiple belts on pulley systems with a number of ways to manually tighten the belts. The serpentine belt system consists of only one belt and one automatic belt tensioner. The automatic belt tensioner plays an important role in serpentine belt maintenance. A properly tensioned belt helps promote long belt life while ensuring that all components are not overloaded or strained during operation.
When Should I Have a Serpentine Belt Replaced?
Serpentine belts are tough, built to sustain years of continued and heavy use, but they do have a life expectancy projected by every manufacturer. Periodic inspection of your serpentine belt will help prevent breakdowns, though it is recommended that you plan to replace the serpentine belt as preventative maintenance every 60,000 to 80,000 miles.
Refer to your owners’ manual for recommended service intervals.